PAX East 2017: First Impressions – Keen

We’re going to do something here that we don’t normally do… we’re going to post a first impressions write-up about a game that hasn’t officially been announced on Nintendo consoles, which there is no confirmation that it actually will come to Nintendo consoles, but which in speaking with some of the team members at PAX East, got the impression that the developers would absolutely love to get their game onto Nintendo systems. There were comments about dev kits, wistful sighs, and enthusiasm for sharing the game with as many interested players as possible.

And since the game was a ton of fun and reminded us a lot of early Zelda or Metal Gear, we’re posting this in hopes that it helps to get the word out.

Keen is a “sliding turn-based puzzle game with tactical combat.” Players enter the game as a young girl named Kim, raised by her Grandmother, and who is now on a mission to bring down an evil corporation that’s destroying her village. She’s off to skate, slash, and slide through mazes and puzzles, and to be quite frank, the controls for these things are simple. Super simple. Use the D-pad to set her skating in the direction you want, and she’ll go until she hits an obstacle. If there’s enemy in the way, she’ll slash through them—in fact, that’s how combat works. Easy, right?

Not so fast. As soon as Kim ends her movement, the enemies get to move, so you’ll have to use an element of turn-based strategy when you start moving through stages. If an enemy lands on a tile next to Kim, they’ll attack and do damage. If Kim ends up next to an enemy at the end of her turn, she’s less likely to take damage (or as much) because she gets to strike.

The levels increase in difficulty as you progress, and will require backtracking in order to move into new areas, acquire objects, and open doors that weren’t previously available. There are boss fights and side objectives while you’re at it, and the quick movement pace means this game moves fast. It’s almost like candy—once you’ve started, you don’t want to stop.

The colorful artwork, the music and the nature of the puzzles all combine into this marvelously addictive experience, and I literally had to be pulled away by my team to move onto other games. I could have played all day, and the folks showing the game were so enthusiastic about the title I’m not sure they would have minded.

Either way, fans of classic Nintendo titles will find much to enjoy here, even if the game itself never comes to a Nintendo console. That said, we’re holding out hope. Keen would be the perfect addition to the Switch lineup, and is suitable for gamers of all ages. Fingers crossed, friends.


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Author: Faith View all posts by
Faith likes games and books and cake and writing and Lara Croft, not necessarily in that order. She also thinks a Skylanders cartoon show is a really, REALLY good idea...

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