It’s a smart move on the developer’s part that Kinetic Edge comes with an epilepsy warning.
This neon drenched, ball-rolling racer throbs and strobes an awful lot, perhaps to match the frenetic soundtrack, but never for the sake of gameplay. Whichever type of match you choose, and there are a few, the round starts with an obnoxious airhorn countdown. Fitting really, as practically every part of the game feels just as obnoxious.
If it isn’t the eyestrain-inducing visuals, it’s the wonky physics as the ball transforms into a cube… a hexagonal ball… a cylinder! All in the name of getting to the end of the course as the winner. If you can really be a winner when an eye mask is needed for ten minutes post-game.
And the issue is, the actual mechanics of this Kinetic Edge – which are buried under an obtuse menu screen which one minute responds to controllers and the next minute doesn’t – are great. It’s kind of reminiscent of Marble Madness and Marble Blast Ultra; you have to guide a ball (or the above shapes) along an obstacle course as fast as possible. There’s a dash, a double jump and an ability to blast off of other objects, and it’s crazy, hair-brained fun. Controlling this ball as it wobbles through the air to bounce from the edge of a spinning platform and down a kaleidoscopic tube is a thrill.
Away from the racing, there are gauntlets where you’ll race against a clock, rather than opponents, and mazes to solve, too. It is all well thought-out and bridges a weird gap between racing game and puzzler. But I would not recommend it.
Kinetic Edge feels like a project which was originally built in Roblox but polished up for a ray-tracing generation of hardware. Everything shines or flickers or reflects, and it is all a detriment to what is: a particularly good premise. No, it’s not wholly original, but that’s not the issue.
The issue is only being able to play for short bursts because your eyes hurt. Or because you’re sick of reaching over to the mouse to select a new game mode, even though your controller worked on the main screen. With friends, in short bursts, Kinetic Edge can be fun. But for the most part, it feels like rolling a ball uphill, rather than down: awkward and difficult.
Kinetic Edge Review: GameSpew’s Score