Thursday, March 8

Review: One Eyed Kutkh [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Recently, particularly in the indie space, there’s been a resurgence in games being used as vehicles for storytelling. Whether in the form of walking simulators, strictly text-based narratives of various kinds, or riffs on the classic PC adventures there’s been a movement towards games being a mere vehicle for the story. The idea is that with the action taking a backseat that the story is able to shine, but the interactive game experience is better able to immerse the player. There is, however, a point where neither the story or the gameplay is compelling, leaving an experience that is weak mechanically and offers little for your time. Such is the case with One Eyed Kutkh, an “adventure game” in about the weakest sense possible that does relate a story steeped in cultural lore, but not one with anything meaningful to say.


Starting with the story itself, I’m afraid “ruining it” would take little more than two sentences. It is a take on the type of legend people in various cultures created in order to explain natural phenomenon, though in this case it has been “enhanced” with the addition of a pretty goofy and slow-moving alien for whom the game is named. After crash landing he begins to look for a few parts that flew off his spaceship. Unfortunately, through the process of trying to find a solution to his problem he ends up messing things up for the locals so a lone member of the tribe must make a (short) journey to set things right. There are no revelations here, nothing of great cultural significance save for the game’s art style, and once you help everyone walk through the motions of this tale the credits roll. That’s it.


Since the story fails to make a significant impression that leaves it to the gameplay to shine, and unfortunately for the most part it is slow and painful. Perhaps to extend the play time nothing in the game happens quickly. Most of what you need to do is telegraphed, there are no real detours to speak of, so the majority of the time I was impatiently waiting for Kutkh to just move his ass and get on with things. There’s no ability to directly control everything, instead you interact with the characters through sort of thought and talk bubbles that will typically have no more than 3 options, and often only 2, one of which is to go back where you came from. This makes everything highly linear and unengaging, you really are just following the path set out for you… but slowly.


As an experiment, demo, or proof of concept I could appreciate the exercise of creating the game. What doesn’t make any sense is that even a nominal fee is being charged for people to play it. You could save yourself the money, go to the library, and read up on a collection of legends from different cultures that explain how and why the universe works and be just as enriched if not more. In terms of the “reward” for your time and expense Kutkh just isn’t a very good value, no matter how low its asking price may go.

Score: 4.5

Pros:
  • Partially based on cultural folklore
  • Interesting art I assume is inspired in part by the cultures the story was pulled from

Cons:
  • It is strictly a riff on a tale to explain the universe that would be easier and cheaper to simply read
  • The gameplay is painfully slow and linear
  • Even with everything dragging the game is extremely short and has absolutely no replay value