In an epic tie in with the famous French house musician Kavinsky, his new new album Outrun introduces the first ever video game based on a record appropriately titled Kavinsky by Record Makers. In a blend of video game styles ranging from beat ’em up Street Fighter esque games to Fast and the Furious street car racing Kavinsky aims to encapture the iconic feel, style, and music of the 1980s. With a great backdrop of the actual artist Kavinsky’s latest album as the soundtrack and great cell shaded Hotline Miami style 3D artwork you will feel like you’re in a movie like Drive while playing Kavinsky.
Punches and Fast Cars
Perhaps one of the coolest aspects of Kavinsky is that it does not stick to just one gameplay style but rather has two that switch off per level and an additional bonus style that is really cool which I’ll touch on later. The two styles that are blended are those of fighting beat ’em up games such as Street Fighter and also racing games. So in the fighting style levels you basically walk down a street in sort of an angled isometric view and enemies ranging from thugs to police officers come and attack you with fists and batons. You have two buttons to press for two different attacks, just a simple punch and a kick move but you can string together combos as well as have powerups give you a super punch boost. The racing levels are also fairly simple and straightforward. They have you simply driving down a linear road busting through police blockades, trying not to get caught by bandits/police chasing you and also getting to checkpoints before time runs out. With the driving levels you can choose whether to steer using on screen arrow buttons or through gyroscope.
I mentioned an additional bonus style above and you read right, it is augmented reality. Now I feel that augmented reality is a relatively new and still upcoming feature but more and more games and other apps are utalizing it. Basically though augmented reality can project digital images onto a screen on picture of the “real world”. Kavinsky uses this technology in skippable bonus levels in which you take a picture of something such as a magazine or book cover and then the game has the iconic Kavinsky car on top of your picture along with various style objects/obstacles. You are then tasked with fighting off baddies who are attacking your car. Now I am all for augmented reality and I think the technology is really cool but I will say that I am glad these levels are skippable as it really does not work at all in Kavinsky. Have the time the picture you want to take won’t take and then when you do have a picture set it randomly resets and wants you to take another picture….too much of a hassle for little reward, but still cool.
I keep mentioning the time period of the ’80s which while I guess Kavinsky doesn’t come out and say it the theme is still there and the actual music has been lauded as resembling the ’80s. Kavinsky is set to be a video game backdrop to Kavinsky’s new album which has been said to have an ’80s style. Theme wise Kavinsky is all bold cell shaded colors and graphics which really give it that ’80s feel as well as the subject matter involved. If you notice all the health packs and powerups are represented by cigarettes, beer and Playboy magazines which aren’t necessarily ’80s but still add to the theme that Kavinsky is presenting. In addition to the subject matter and graphics you have the obvious ’80s touch which is the actual new album by the artist Kavinsky, Outrun. Outrun serves as the backdrop for the general game in terms of story but also the whole soundtrack for Kavinsky which is really cool and fits in quite well.
As cool as the graphics, music and ideas (mainly the augmented reality aspect) are in Kavinsky it still suffers from some slight issues that do hold it back from being the best it could be. For me the main glaring issues are in the controls. For the fighting aspect the slightly askew perspective kind of makes it hard to aim your punches and kicks. It also feels like once you start landing your attacks you kick pushed off and start attacking nothing so you have to readjust yourself. As for the racing/driving aspect the controls also have issues. Out of the two control options I found the gyroscope to actually respond better but it took a while to get used to. Other issues occur with the broken augmented reality bonus levels. Needs to be tweaked to actual set a picture once you take it and not try to reset it. The last issue is one that will be fixed in time….as Kavinsky is just a short game. There is two of each level type; fighting, racing and augmented reality. And these levels go by quick. Fun levels but very short lived. Overall though Kavinsky is a very interesting game that blends music with style and creates a pretty good but short app package.