PAX Online 2020: Kunai – Second Look

We first checked out Kunai at PAX West 2019, and at the time found it to be an entertaining, oddball little metroidvania offering. Players control Tabby, a sentient tablet (you’ll have to play to understand, trust us) who has been released from containment by robots. Evidently, there’s a robot war underway—with no more humans around, presumably killed off by a robot uprising? that’s really the only logical conclusion we can draw here—and it’s your task to help the “good robots” stop the “bad robots” from outright obliterating the rest of the world. Why do you care? Well, we’re not sure, that’s about all we got from the story so you’ll have to draw your own conclusions. Or write your own fic. We won’t judge.

Anyhow, to start, Tabby has a sword and can jump, but soon into the demo we grabbed the kunai (yes, those very same as mentioned in the title!) that offered up a cool ability to latch onto walls from either side, climbing up and swinging across gaps. It was very Spider-Man-esque. It was also less frustrating than it could have been, since the auto-aim for the kunai ensured it would hit and latch onto the closest surface instead of shooting completely haywire.

Hence, the learning curve for the kunai is very small—which makes sense, given that this feature is literally the title of the game. However… that’s about all there is to it. You shoot. They latch. You swing. Okay, now what? Well, not much. Do they get more complex or added features later in the game? We’re not sure. This title has been out since February of this year, so we could look it up and find out, but since this was a feature for PAX Online and we haven’t played the whole thing, we’re going to be fair and only talk about what was available on the demo.

Speaking of demo, the game as a whole looks more polished now than it did last year (presumably so, as it’s been launched, but in case you’ve only played last year’s version and are wondering how it fares now). The color palette, while still muted, feels a touch softer and smoother, more visually appealing while still maintaining that nostalgia angle. Tabby still has shifting emotes on his screen when he’s happy, or attacks, or is upset—which is pretty cute. The controls are tight and the enemies just challenging enough (the moss in particular) to ensure you’ve mastered the weapons and skills you’ve picked up in the preceding level. And when you defeat a boss, you get a little hat that looks like the boss you’ve taken out! It does nothing, as far as we’re aware—it just looks fun—but it’s an appreciated little touch.

We’re not going to go so far as to say Kunai brings anything particularly new to the table. But it has that nice balance of nostalgia + a unique enough aesthetic (characters + world) to make it worth checking out if you’re a fan of this game genre. Often with these retro-ish platformers we’re left wondering “what’s the point? what makes this different?”, and in this case—well, you play a sentient tablet who swings around on grappling hooks, and we can honestly say we haven’t seen that particular angle before.


PAX Online Listing Information:

  • Available on PC / Nintendo Switch
  • Genre Action & Adventure / Platform / Shooter
  • Release date Out now
  • Exhibitor The Arcade Crew

KUNAI is a quirky, fast-paced action adventure / metroidvania. You play as Tabby, a tablet who joins the fight against a robot uprising. Use your kunai and ninja parkour skills to stop Lemonkus, the A.I.-gone-evil that almost wiped out all human life.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Digg
Author: Dave View all posts by
Dave will tell you that he likes to play video games, this is in fact a lie. What he really likes to do is buy games, and leaving them sitting unopened on his shelf. He is a monster.

Leave A Response