KAMI: Meditative Puzzles for iOS

Let’s face it: the App Store teems of fast-paced games packed with action and suspense. It’s all about the next new zombie game, or the arcade game that brings a new twist to an old classic. However, there are only so many of these games you can try out before they become stale.

KAMI gives a breath of fresh air to the gaming department by stripping away all the action and creating a laid-back, meditative gaming environment that can’t be found in many games these days. Does it compete with its action-packed competitors? Find out after the jump.

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Getting Started

KAMI is a puzzle game. The goal is to completely fill the board with one color in as few moves as possible. A short tutorial on the first level of the game walks you through the simple instructions, which are basically tap the color you want in the menu, then tap the color you want to change.

Paying is easy: select the color you want to flood the board with from the menu, then tap the color you want to change.

Playing is easy: select the color you want to flood the board with from the menu, then tap the color you want to change.

Since there is virtually no learning curve to the game, you can hop directly into each of the 36 levels, which are organized into four nine-level chapters, as soon as you open the game.

Unfolding the Game

When it comes to gameplay, KAMI is not very original. At its core, it plays exactly like any other “flood” game, but that isn’t to say that the game isn’t fun.

KAMI, while not at all impossible, is quite a difficult game. This comes mainly as a result of the limit on the amount of moves you may make to pass a level. Each level has a “perfect” benchmark, which is the least amount of moves it is possible to fill the board completely. If you don’t hit this benchmark, you are allowed only one more move before you have failed the level. This makes the game especially difficult in later levels of the game, where patches of colors are strewn everywhere.

One move over perfect lets you pass, but just two moves over perfect leads to failure.

One move over perfect lets you pass, but just two moves over perfect leads to failure.

Change of pace comes in the form of new chapters, each of which offers nine levels with the same general twist on the game. New chapters can’t be unlocked until you have successfully passed each level in the preceding chapter, adding yet another layer of difficulty to KAMI.

At the time of press, it’s not too hard to play through the entire game within an hour or two; it’s in perfecting each and every level where play time is added. Some of the levels are difficult to even reach the passing mark, let alone the perfect mark, so in that regard KAMI gets a lot of replay value. Also, there is the promise of new levels being added to the game in updates.

Design

It’s pretty obvious from the start that the developers really wanted KAMI’s design to stand out from the rest of the crowd.¬†They did that well: just by looking at the screenshots you could tell that KAMI is gorgeous. Color is used amazingly throughout, and there is just enough detail added that it doesn’t seem out of place on your iPhone.

KAMI has great bursts of color that don't look gaudy.

KAMI has great bursts of color that don’t look gaudy.

As mentioned before, I really like KAMI’s use of color. Each chapter comes with its own color scheme, giving a feeling of progression just from the aesthetics themselves. Even bright colors don’t look gaudy as they are paired with complementing colors, making the interface great to look at.

The oriental stylings of the application are not at all cheesy. In fact, they are really well implemented throughout not only in visuals, but with audio as well. The app’s soundtrack is very melodic and peaceful, setting the meditative mood the app aims for quite well.

Tap the area you want to flood, then wait... and wait... and wait.

Tap the area you want to flood, then wait… and wait… and wait.

Animations are definitely one of the things that set KAMI apart from other games. They are graceful and sophisticated, and by far some of the most detailed animations I have ever seen in a game. However, the animations are somewhat impractical, as they are quite slow. You have to wait for the entire board to flood until you can make your next move, and the animations add unnecessary seconds of waiting to play time, which is annoying when all you want to do is make progress in the game.

The Verdict

All in all, KAMI is a solid game. While it may not be the most original game on the market right now, it does offer a decent amount of playtime and a challenge, making it worthwhile as a puzzler.

While the app is beautifully designed down to each detail, the length of the animations is rather annoying, and you feel like you are wasting time waiting for the board to fill.

KAMI does live up to what it is advertised to be, and as a result I do feel as if $0.99 is a fair price for the app. I’d definitely recommend checking it out if you’re in to puzzlers or want a new type of game; otherwise, you may want to pass this one up.


Summary

A puzzler for iOS with a relaxing ambience and beautiful design.

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