KAMI: Meditative Puzzles for iOS

Let’s face it: the App Store teems with fast-paced games packed with action and suspense, especially on the iPad end of the spectrum because developers have so much space to use to their advantage. It’s all about the next new zombie game, or the arcade game that brings a new twist on 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. All you have to do is tap the color you want in the menu, then tap the color on the board that you want to change.

A short tutorial on the first level of the game walks you through the instructions.

A short tutorial on the first level of the game walks you through the instructions.

There is virtually no learning curve to the game, allowing you to hop 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 at all original. At its core, it plays exactly like any other “flood” game, but that isn’t to say that the game isn’t fun.

Change of pace comes in the form of new chapters, each of which offers several levels with the same general twist on the game.

Change of pace comes in the form of new chapters, each of which offers several levels with the same general twist on the game.

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 in. 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.

New chapters can not be unlocked until you have passed every level in the preceding chapter.

At the time of press, it isn’t 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 KAMI gets a lot of replay value. Also, there is the promise of new levels being added to the game in updates.

Design

It is 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’s use of color is truly impeccable. Each chapter wears 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 colors that complement themselves, making it 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.

Everything from the colors to the soundtrack to the animations are beautiful; however, the animations take their time finish up.

Everything from the colors to the soundtrack to the animations are beautiful; however, the animations take their time finish up.

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, on older devices especially where they begin to lag. This understandably becomes 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 in every detail, the length of the animations is somewhat annoying and it feels as if you are wasting time by waiting for the board to fill, especially if you’re playing on an older device like I was.

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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