Short Subject Saturdays: KIDS (PC Review)

It’s been a long time since I did Short Subject Saturdays. I didn’t like the “finding the games” aspect of it. Ask people on Twitter for a game that can be finished in twenty minutes or less and you’ll get two responses: smug asshats who say “you can beat Super Mario 64 in that time!” or well-meaning asshats who say “it’s longer than twenty minutes but..” and then pitches a game that takes hours to complete. Besides, the page views for these games were not great.

This scene is based on everybody who pulls over to ask for directions in San Francisco.

But, fuck it, I need to do a review and I didn’t want to put in too much effort, and I forgot that one of my favorite shorties got a sequel/spinoff. From the creators of Plug & Play comes KIDS. As it was downloading, I was a lot more excited than I probably should have been, but I really liked Plug & Play. Sure, it’s only ranked (as of this writing) #192 of 300 IGC Leaderboard games, but hey, that’s pretty good for a game that’s barely over ten minutes. Well, KIDS is longer, taking fifteen to twenty minutes to complete, but that’s all it has going for it. Except the sound effects. Good sound effects this has.

You use the mouse to control everything, which works great for most scenes, but I found the clicking actions required to push people down these tubes to be slow, clunky, and dull.

The unforgettable, surreal visuals of Plug & Play are replaced here by a sea of humanity, but the concept is still the same. KIDS is comprised of a series of vignettes and functionally works as a puzzler that you have to figure out how to complete each scene, which are mostly dealing with how to make a crowd of people behave a certain way. But, these aren’t “puzzles” like in the brain bending sense. More of a “figure out the point” type of deal. Like, one scene might have everyone pointing, and the object is to get everyone to point in that direction too. Once you’ve done it, the scene moves on. Other scenes might have you getting an entire screen full of people to clap, or run into a hole, or avoid a hole, or have one line of running people merge with another line of running people. I don’t know what it says about me that I prefer having a human plugs interlock with each other, but the group thing didn’t do anything for me.

In the old days, a game with this many moving characters would have been mighty impressive, but it’s old hat by now.

The sound design is exemplary, but everything else about KIDS is just really dull. I kept waiting for the game to go Plug & Play levels of surreal insanity and it just never happens. The slapstick violence of the first barely shows up. This feels like a much more safe, subdued experimental type of animation concept. But, I just didn’t enjoy it. It repeats concepts a lot, with new twists to complete them, but never in a way that I was like “okay, that was cool.” Never once, in fact. I even came to cringe when especially boring sections like pushing people through what seemed to be a digestive tract kept popping up. So, in this case the KIDS aren’t all right.

KIDS is not IGC Approved

KIDS was developed by Mario von Rickenbach & Michael Frei
Point of Sale: Steam

$2.99 would still buy another game from these two in a heartbeat in the making of this review.

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

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