One day, in the Quiet Forest, an egg fell from the sky and out hatched Ivy the Kiwi. But Ivy’s mother was nowhere to be found. Help Ivy find her mommy in this 2-D action-platformer for Wii and DS (Wii version reviewed here).
In Ivy the Kiwi?, you don’t control Ivy directly. She runs on her own, never stopping, only to turn around if she runs into a wall. Kind of like Lemmings. It’s up to you to guide Ivy to the end of the stage by drawing vines for her to walk on with the Wii remote. Once you start drawing a vine, you can move it around from the central point a little bit, and can ‘scoop’ Ivy up to guide her (this is a helpful way to move her around easier). You can also use vines to block her way from danger and make her turn around. You can only draw three vines at a time; the first of the three will disappear if you draw another one. And don’t let the vines stretch too far and long, or else they will snap.
Once you have a vine drawn, you can press the B button while pointing on the vine to pull it back and snap it like a rubber band. If Ivy is walking on the vine or near it when you do this, it’ll send her airborne like a slingshot. While in the air she’ll spin and can smash blocks and defeat enemies. Speaking of baddies, if Ivy gets hit by a bad guy or spikes, she’ll lose a life and have to start the stage over again. Collect 10 red feathers to earn an extra life. If you lose all your lives, you can still retry the last stage again, but your score will reset.
There are a few gameplay modes in this title. The main Story Mode is single player, but a second person can pick up another remote and draw vines, too. In Time Trial, you can play already passed stages to get the best completion time. And up to four players can try the split screen Multiplayer Mode, where each one tries to get their Kiwi to the end goal by drawing vines. You can even draw vines on another player’s screen to hinder their progress!
The 2-D graphics remind me of children’s book illustrations, especially the Frog and Toad books (anyone remember those?). Although sometimes it can be hard to see objects and enemies because they blend in with the earth toned background. Even though the DS version is more reasonably priced, the Wii game is the definitive version, with more gameplay modes and better controls. I played a demo of the DS Ivy the Kiwi? game on the Nintendo Channel and it was harder to pull vines with the stylus. The box touts that Ivy the Kiwi? was made by the same creator of Sonic, but this is a totally different game. It’s simple, but surprisingly decent.
Ivy the Kiwi? is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Comic Mischief. When Ivy or enemies get hit, they just fall off the screen, so it’s fairly non-violent. Reading skill isn’t necessary as the tutorials have picture cues and things are pretty easy to figure out anyway. Younger and less experienced players might get frustrated at some of the later, tougher levels, though. With the two player option in Story Mode and the Multiplayer challenges, the whole family can join in, too.