Boasting the cutest postal workers known the man, KeyWe, a novel puzzle co-op title, is how you wish the post office was run – hastily and awkwardly by two tiny birds which attach stickers to their butt and process packages co-operatively with levers and buttons. With a Toy Story/Banjo Kazooie-type vibrant aesthetic, and gameplay that requires teamwork for top scores, all the ingredients are here for a jolly good time – just make sure you have a friend.
Taking on the unenviable task of making a boring job the main conceit of a game, KeyWe has you working in a sorting office, shuffling around, attaching labels and generally sorting your way through mail, but, wait for it – as a small fluffy creature. Taaa-daaa!! Cue the pre-recorded cheer and a money-making machine that makes it rain from the skies, because we’re onto a winner!
With its adorable protagonists in tow, you must use your two bundles of feathers as fast as possible to complete the step-based tasks through 50+ levels. Vibrant and dripping with charm, the presentation and its intentionally poorly explained puzzles manage to keep you occupied and its amusing co-operative gameplay sparks comparisons with other simple family-friendly co-op games like Overcooked.
Describing one level is like describing them all though, with only a slightly different layout, color design and one or two extra elements separating each of them and it’s because of this, that you will know almost immediately whether this game is for you as it’s just more of the same with each ‘new’ task.
I’m all about the little things in games and the satisfying animation and sound effects of picking up a shipping label, jet-packing jumping to affix it to a crate lid with your butt and then using a crane like device to attach it to the top of a shipping crate, is absurdly enjoyable, but these gimmicks are not as common as you’d hope and despite its aesthetic winning me over, the tediousness of essentially the same goal and level types set in.
This simplicity works for co-op playthroughs though, as the slight twists in levels and increase in difficulty, that each of the 50+ stages offer, feels more significant and the randomness of playing with another person shines through. The solo experience, while still enjoyable, is hamstrung by the fact that you can obviously only control 1 Kiwi at a time which forces the game into a box it’s not perfectly suited for with levels that require you to do every little tedious task yourself – like protecting yourself from flies and gathering message pieces or typing long messages – and it leaves the gameplay feeling like you are stuck in transit – slow and unnecessarily delayed.
The game’s issues are also much harder to ignore when not clouded by the fun of the multiplayer mode. With a rather strange body shape, it’s almost understandable why nearly half of your Kiwi’s body disappears into the environment without having to rework the game’s level design, but it looks a bit strange to have your kiwi’s entire head disappear into a wall for no reason. Not to mention the numerous unrecoverable situations that cause you to restart the level, even when they are seemingly commonplace considering the conceit, like putting the wrong sticker on a lid and being unable to remove it and replace it with another one.
KeyWe is an innovative addition to the family-friendly co-op genre with simple task-based gameplay and beautiful presentation providing a fun pick-up-and-play experience, but don’t expect much from its single player mode as the game’s shelf life lies almost entirely in the randomness produced from co-operating with others.