PAX East 2013: Telekinesis Kyle hands-on with a potential wonder boy
If I ever have kids with telekinetic powers, I’ll be sure to avoid any “gifted programs” thanks to Telekinesis Kyle. In this puzzle game for iOS and Android, a small boy named Kyle thinks he’s going to get an education, but he ends up locked away in a government testing facility where they plan to turn him into a military weapon.
Of course, like all government test subjects, he makes his escape. It’s up to you to guide him out of the facility, avoiding traps through the use of his telekinetic powers. The controls are simple and entirely touch-based. Touch the left side of the screen and Kyle will walk left, touch the right side and Kyle will walk right. He’ll even automatically jump across gaps and onto platforms if he can. Tapping and dragging objects in the environment will activate Kyle’s telekinetic powers, letting you drag and drop to solve various puzzles. Touching the screen with two fingers will allow you to move the camera and scope out the entire environment.
The controls are simple and intuitive, avoiding the pitfalls of many touchscreen games and allowing you to focus on the puzzles. The puzzles I saw involved things like using crates to create floating platforms or staircases, and activating switches to create circuits. Traps like lasers and spikes will kill Kyle, but developer Vellum Interactive’s president Brian Reinhart assured me that things would never get too violent. While Telekinesis Kyle has some dark moments, it isn’t going to be brutalizing a small child like in Limbo.
“You start out as this awkward kid who’s really out of place,” Reinhart explained. “Visually, we represent this by giving him a cartoon-y, cel-shaded look. The rest of the world we try to make fairly realistic and, especially on some of the darker levels, you see the contrast between him being very innocent and the rest of the world being very dark.”
While the game is focused on puzzle solving and seems to have that “one more level” design that so many mobile puzzle games feature, Vellum does have story ambitions for Kyle. “We’ve created a script, like a movie script, for the game,” said Reinhart. “It’s really funny, we had some people in Hollywood really punch it up and add a lot of humor to it. We converted it into a comic book script and we have some sequential artists putting it into a 40page comic book that we’re going to break apart and use as the game’s cutscenes.”
I didn’t have a chance to see the cutscenes in action, but they’ll hopefully do a lot to give the game some flavor. While I enjoyed the puzzle solving and the 3D environments, the dry industrial environments seemed more utilitarian than atmospheric. I couldn’t help thinking the game could use a bit more color.
With a May release date planned, it seems Telekinesis Kyle is poised to stump players with some fun physics and mind-control puzzle solving, along with intuitive and simple touch screen controls.
And damn it, I just got the Tenacious D reference...
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