KUNAI is a platforming video game that is quite interesting. Early on as you go through this side-scrolling game with its certain minimalistic flourish, one of the tools you obtain is a katana. You’d be forgiven for thinking this would be just a bog-standard weapon, but in KUNAI, you can use it to deflect bullets.
With each swing, you can reflect projectiles back to your opponents, giving you that taste of being an unstoppable ninja. Quickly, you move on to obtain the titular kunai, which you’d be using the rest of the game to perform acrobatic feats as you progress through the stages.
As the story goes, the world has been taken over by malevolent robots, but a few defenders of humanity raid a scientific facility that’s captured humanity’s last hope of survival. That hope is you, the player, or more specifically, an incredibly strong robot warrior named Tabby. With renewed will and a katana that will slice through everything, help humankind in their mission to defeat Lemonkus, the A.I. that started the whole mess.While Tabby is a mute protagonist, that doesn’t mean they’re not a fun one. As you control Tabby’s movements, the robot is capable of a variety of amusing and adorable expressions. It offers a light relief in the game, and honestly, watching Tabby’s expressions is one of the game’s greatest strengths and I’m thankful it’s added in.
Let’s move on to the gameplay! The controls are easy to get used to, and it better be for a platformer, with its simplicity further strengthening its core gameplay. Defeat enemies with melee strikes using the katana, which is also capable of absorbing their HP. Then there’s the pair of kunai that you can use to climb walls, traverse large distances and more as you work with the momentum provided to you by the kunai. While the level designs often encourage players to play around with the kunai, the katana’s ability for deflect bullets is not fully explored.
There are at least two different enemies within the game that utilize the katana’s deflection abilities, but a majority of them just require precise strikes or with any long range weapon you happen to have. While some bosses can only be defeated at range, there isn’t a boss that really requires that mano a mano melee encounter. It can be disappointing for those who really want to flex full mastery of the game, on top of the acrobatic feats you can achieve with the kunai.
It’s not exactly a strike against KUNAI though, as it is still a solid game. It’s got its style of visuals and a use of colour that conveys the post-apocalyptic world without it getting too dreary. The replayability of the game can depend on you, but the map designs and various consistent upgrades you get can keep the game fresh and interesting as you use your new toys to open a new path. Find hidden chests around containing upgrade tokens, HP tokens and a variety of hats for Tabby.
KUNAI is an expressive retro Metroidvania game, with its own style. For presentation alone, I certainly enjoyed it, and figuring out the kunai is another game in itself. If you’re a platformer fan, you should give it a shot and swing around like a certain friendly neighbourhood spider!
A Metroidvania with its own flourish that fans of the genre could look to get.
- Tabby is adorable
- Controls are simple and responsive
- Replayability may be on the low side
- A certain lack of variety in combat may be disappointing
A little Tabby that could