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For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Now that's magic

Product: Kiwanuka | Developer: CMA Megacorp | Publisher: CMA Megacorp | Format: iPhone | Genre: Adventure, Casual, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.1
Kiwanuka iPhone, thumbnail 1
It's often said that a successful but costly venture has been "built on the back" of a certain unfortunate party.

In Kiwanuka's case, this is true in a very literal sense.

The tiny rod-wielding saviour that falls under your command must lead his people to salvation by using them to form living bridges.

Harsh, yes. But extremely fun.


Kiwanuka is that special kind of mobile game.

The kind that somehow feels simultaneously fresh and familiar. The kind that can be played on a teeny-tiny iPhone with a single hand, yet not once feel like it's been dumbed down or constrained.

Kiwanuka is very simply one of those clever mobile games that deserves to be played by pretty much everyone with a smartphone, a curious mind, and an appreciation for spatial puzzles.

Hocus pocus

The parallel to Lemmings has already been drawn, but Kiwanuka has none of that game's frustrating crowd-management or multitasking mechanics.

Your single magician is all you really need to worry about here, despite the fact that he or she is followed around by a dozen or more sheep-like citizens. Keep the magician safe, and you'll be okay.

You can directly shift the magician left and right by dragging from their magic rod. Swipe off the edge of a platform, and they'll leap off to whatever lies below (hopefully another platform).

The goal is to reach your fellow magician held captive in a triangular prison at the opposite end of the level.

Towering achievement

The main way to achieve this is the aforementioned bridge-building system. Touch on the magician's rod and drag straight up in the air, and a tower of citizens will form. You can vary the height at will.

Once erected, all it takes is a nudge to send the tower over onto its side. It will pivot on its base and swing around in either direction until its opposite end makes contact with another grey platform, at which point it will latch on and form a bridge.

Now, if you drag from the rod onto the bridge, your little clan will scoot across.

This basic setup is all Kiwanuka needs to create a series of memorable brain-teasers.

Impressive span

The unorthodox bridge-building system at the heart of Kiwanuka is a wonderful thing. Having learnt how to bridge simple gaps, you'll move onto using them to drop down through platforms, and even to move through solid walls.

Coloured platforms will be introduced that will destroy any bridges that touch them, prompting you along other, more convoluted avenues.

You'll soon appreciate the unassuming guide circle that appears when dragging out a bridge-tower. It's there to help you judge those precise 360-degree swings that the game soon requires of you, turning a potential trial-and-error frustration fest into a gloriously precise and tactile experience.

By the time Kiwanuka introduces moving platforms and timing-based elements, you won't bat an eyelid. The game's wonderful control system can take it, and so can you.

Kiwanuka's great success is in making its unusual systems feel completely natural. While its beautiful world is abstract and alien, the game itself is one of the most focused and inviting puzzlers on iOS. It's some kind of magic alright.
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 13 May 2014
Enigmatic and inviting, challenging and intuitive, Kiwanuka truly is a game of alchemy
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