Generally games tend to take us away from the troubles and strife of normal everyday lives. They allow us to be space pilots, or monster hunters, or a leader of an elite zombie killing squad. They let us show our skills on the football pitch, or take on the role of a train driver or city builder. elevated into a position of taking on a job in the real world you might never normally get a crack at. In Little Kite, the journey you are involved in is based on reality. A reality of tragedy, poverty, abuse, and ultimately, hope. It tells a story where you have to survive a real ordeal, before trying to get out on the other side. Little Kite is a game that demands your attention. Let us talk about it.
Little Kite is a point-and-click adventure. It tells the story of a family; with the main characters being Mary and her son, Andrew. At the start of the game, we find out that Mary’s husband (Andrew’s father) died in a road accident, leaving a terrible impact on the small family. Mary remarried a man called Oliver, hoping to give her son all the chances of feeling part of a real family again. But Oliver is an alcoholic who squanders the meager money they get from his job on the demon drink. The alcohol consumption leads to physical abuse of Mary, which makes Andrew slip away into a fantasy world; one in which he meets his dead father, traveling around this strange fictional world hidden within a wardrobe. but Mary makes a decision to change their lives, and a terrible accident occurs.
The story of Little Kite is well told and even though it’s very bleak at times, it is an important and rarely explored topic in games. The characters, setting, and dialogue are all well served and the story told is an excellent one, hooking me in from start to finish.
The gameplay presents like an old-school point and clicker in terms of the setup, and at times the difficulty. You are presented with a location, whereby the character on screen can move when you click on where you want them to go. You’ll know the drill and Little Kite does nothing to sway away from those mechanics. It’s up to you to talk to characters in order to get clues on what to do next. In the beginning, you realise you need to make your son his favorite sandwich. So, first of all you look around the flat, hunting for the ingredients. But you need a knife to prepare the food and it’s gone missing. Thankfully your son has a Conan toy that has a sword that would work, but he won’t let you play with it unless you find him another toy to replace it. So off you go…
This is the simplest of the solutions the game has to offer, yet most of the puzzles are much trickier than that and need you to try several complex options of trial and error. But whilst we’ve discovered other games in which the answers can feel abstract and weird, all of those on offer here make sense; at least in reality.
Little Kite also comes with a nice touch in which pressing the Y button will highlight any items on screen that can be interacted with. Without this, it would be very hard to spot them. The inventory system which places the item at the top of the screen works well too, as does the control system. However, in games like this, it would be much easier to work with a keyboard and mouse. The speed of the cursor seems too fast at times.
It is all delivered via a beautiful hand-drawn comic book style in its presentation. The locations have a real sense of place and the developers have done a great job recreating all the scenes and locations; especially in regards to colour and atmosphere. The cutscenes go full-on comic book mode, with the action displayed over several comic cels, telling the story with minimal movement in the animation. The sound has no voice-over, but strikingly you will bear witness to sudden crying or the sounds of horrible violence. This is extremely effective in portraying the feel of the game. Yet alongside that is a mournful piano score throughout; it does get a tad repetitive after a while.
Little Kite will take you around 4 to 5 hours to complete, maybe less if you’re clever and nail the puzzling situations. It’s a well created experience, and is great to see something tackle new and fervent ground in its subject matter. The artwork is amazing and the world created brilliantly realised, however the controls feel awkward at times and the speed of the cursor is annoying. Overall though, this is a game that tackles a sensitive subject but manages to deal with it with hope and compassion. And for that, I thank you, Little Kite.
Tackle the tale of Little Kite by visiting the Xbox Store