KAMI 紙 Review (3DS eShop)

CIRCLE Entertainment continues its recent streak of mobile-to-handheld conversions with State of Play’s gorgeous paper-centric puzzler KAMI. Without skipping a beat, this new 3DS port proves that some experiences just get better and better as they unfold.

The object is quite simple: turn colored paper arrangements into one uniform color in the fewest moves possible. This isn’t as shallow as it may initially sound and — to use a horribly archaic metaphor — there’s definitely more ways to skin a cat when it comes to solving these paper-laden levels. Often times, I puzzled and puzzled ’till my puzzler was sore only to finally realize that the answer was deceptively simple. Eventually I found that merging two adjacent tilesets’ colors allowed me to create a bigger piece of the puzzle to work with and this helped me determine where each color should go. Tricky, but never too tricky for its own good. Regardless, these puzzles felt rewarding because the mental process behind finding the answer was always engrossing.

What makes KAMI work as well as it does is the economy behind its satisfyingly simplistic approach. While there aren’t a dozen game modes like the most recent offerings of Tetris, KAMI sticks to a basic formula and runs with in the purest sense. On top of that, imposing a limited amount of moves on the player greatly supplements the game’s challenge all while feeling completely warranted and essential. It’s all very minimalistic really, but with a razor sharp focus on game design, exemplifying that less is indeed more when it comes to solving puzzles.

The decorative ribbon tying this whole package together is unquestionably the game’s elegant Japanese theme. Being as beautifully designed and well-animated as it is, it’s hard to believe KAMI is a mere budget puzzle title. The production values are absolutely through the roof. Everything from the elegant origami aesthetic to soothing shamisen accompaniments works seamlessly with one another and invokes an unrivaled sense of ambiance for players to indulge in.

With 63 brain-teasing levels, KAMI is the perfect game to lose yourself in for an afternoon. It’s a short, but sweet ride that’s immensely satisfying while it lasts, one that’ll enrich your puzzle sensibilities as it dazzles you with its quiet beauty.

KAMI is available now on the North American eShop for $2.99 with an expected European release soon to follow.

KAMI 紙 Review (3DS eShop)
Gameplay8.5
Presentation9
Lasting Appeal8
Flags of the World10
Pros
  • Beautiful and minimalistic
  • Relaxing ambiance
  • Stimulating puzzles
Cons
  • Monotonous at times
8.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Former Co-Editor

Trace Wysaske lives somewhere in Washington, and when he isn't compulsively hunting Green Stars or felling the Lagiacrus, he's writing about everything from forlorn Japanese teachers to well-mannered crows. He still needs to play Ghost Trick.