By Justin Guillou / March 13th, 2017
Keen is a cute little game describes as a “Sliding turn-based puzzle game with tactical combat”. You play as Kim a young girl raised by her Grandmother on a mission to put a stop to an evil corporation from wrecking havoc on her village. Armed with a pair of rollerskates, she sets out on her journey to slash and skate her way through various mazes while solving puzzles along the way. Keen is very easy to play, in fact the game can be controlled with one hand. Basically you use the directional buttons to send her skating in that direction. Kim will keep moving until she runs into a wall or any other object that would restrict her movement such as a box or switch. If an enemy happens to be in the way she will slash right through them oftentimes killing them in one swift strike. As soon as she stops moving, the enemy’s turn begins and they will move too. If they move to a tile next to her, Kim will take damage but if Kim end up on a tile next to an enemy at the end of her turn she will attack them but for less damage. In this sense, the game is similar to a Rogue-like with how the moves and turns are handled. The visuals are very pleasing to look at with lots of nice artwork and great animation for all of the characters.
The goal of each level is to make it to the end of the area alive. They start off simple enough with only a handful of screens but in no time get very tricky and far more involved. It gets to a point where you are navigating full on Zelda-like dungeons complete with enemies, puzzles, keys, backtracking and even a boss. One of the biggest challenges with Keen is trying to find a way to move Kim across the level while keeping her out of danger. Some rooms contain several enemies in them and once it is their turn, they will not hesitate to move themselves in a way that the player will find themselves cornered to the point where no matter what move they make, they will take damage. Keen can be a very fast paced game especially with how quickly Kim moves around during her turn. Of course, you don’t have to blaze through the levels, heck I’d recommended that you do not for your first playthrough otherwise you will lose very quickly. That said, the levels have some additional objectives to them including defeating all of the enemies in an area or completing the area using a small amount of moves. I quickly found myself very addicted to Keen and I think Cat Nigiri have a great little gem on their hands. Watch the below trailer if you want to see the game in action:
AcapcomCat nigiriHack 'N' SlashIndieKeenPAXPAX East 2017puzzleSteamZelda