Kinetic Edge is the type of game where what you see is what you get. You will know within the first 30 seconds of playing whether you like it or not. At its core, it’s an enjoyably difficult platformer decked out in a harsh neon glow. It’s simultaneously relaxing and engaging. Kinetic Edge is a perfect sort of game to chill out to, but you’ll need to remain focused at all times to succeed.
The enjoyment in Kinetic Edge revolves closely around the mechanics. Luckily, the controls are intuitive, and by extension, the platforming come across as well-oiled and tightly designed. Some of the levels are absurdly tricky, but it always feels fair. I never got stuck in one spot for too long, and the solution was always more or less obvious. That’s because Kinetic Edge is not so much a puzzle game as a skill-based platformer. You need to be pixel perfect at moments. For me, that was the pleasure of the entire experience. The difficulty was addicting.
Speaking in specifics, you have a few tools at your disposal as you navigate the levels. You can dash, jump, and send a blast out to knock other players off track. Unfortunately, I was never able to find a multiplayer game, so the latter power went unused. There are also a number of game types to try from straightforward racing to golfing to even maneuvering around a maze. As expected, they’re all smoothly done but none of them are particularly enticing alternatives.
We need to talk about the aesthetic. Even if you’re a fan of the futuristic, neon, Tron-inspired look, it gets hard to look at during quick platforming. By about an hour or two, my eyes are on fire. The incessant glow is just too harsh.
There’s an awkward clash at the heart of Kinetic Edge. As I said, it’s both perfectly relaxing but also discordantly aggressive. It would be a nice game to sit back and play for hours, but you’d need corneas of steel to do so. The repetitive but enjoyable nature of the game can lull you into a trance, but you’ll never really get comfortable. SCT needs to decide what they’re going for here. Is this a hardcore race-to-the-finish type game? Or is it a hypnotic time waster? As it stands, it sits in an odd in-between that will fail to satisfy most types of players.
Kinetic Edge is a stripped-down platformer with a nicely balanced difficulty. Sure, the game is an effortless experience, but it’s unclear what atmosphere SCT was trying to achieve. To make matters worse, when the fundamentals are so simplistic, any missteps are hard to ignore. The mechanics are near perfect to what SCT was trying to achieve, but it feels like the bare minimum. It needs a stylistic overhaul to match. I’m not inherently against the cyberpunk approach, but it’s over the top. Without any change, Kinetic Edge will please only a handful of dedicated platformer players but will deter casual fans with its intense look.