I love co-op games and 3D platformers and KeyWe is here to combine the 2 into one super-fun formula that you can enjoy with a chum.
KeyWe is a unique co-op experience. It essentially consists of stages that have you performing somewhat elaborate tasks while its core gameplay is what you'd expect from a 3D platformer as you run and jump around the environments. The premise is that you and a friend play as a couple of kiwi birds named Jeff and Debra who work at Bungalow Basin Telepost Office and each stage represents a different facet of your job. For example, you may be deciphering messages, sorting mail, or assembling packages for delivery. No matter which task you're currently trying to complete, you're bound to have a ton of fun doing so, especially if you're playing cooperatively with someone. Now that I mention it, you can play either online or with a local friend so it's great that you don't have to go it alone.
The kiwis themselves are super-cute and are animated very well to make for one fun-filled visual treat. Plus, you'll earn stamps according to how well you complete each task that you can redeem for cosmetic items and skins in order to inject even more personality into the little birds. Meanwhile, the environments are quite detailed and feature plenty of variety when it comes to themes such as seasons.
KeyWe's campaign consists of a handful of different scenarios that have their own core gameplay such as butt-bouncing on typewriter keys to send telegraphs, ordering letter chunks to transcribe messages, assembling crates with appropriate labels to ship them, and sorting mail in various ways. Although this sounds kind of basic, each of these tasks requires multiple steps and they can get quite complicated, especially when further iterations of them are unlocked which feature gimmicks such as insects that steal things, vines that interfere with your typewriter, and tornadoes that blow everything around. It all adds up to one frantic formula that's a ton of fun.
When it comes to extra content, there are a bunch of bonus mini-games that involve tasks such as performing music and stopping an octopus tank from leaking. These are just as fun as the campaign's stages so there's certainly a lot of content. Another nifty addition is the collectibles system which lets you unlock more cosmetic items. Now, these aren't collectibles in the traditional sense because instead of merely picking them up, you must perform very specific actions such as return flowers to a pot to unlock them; very clever!
I loved my time with KeyWe and can't wait to play it more but it does have its downsides. For starters, the core modes get repeated quite frequently which can be a bit repetitious even though the additional gimmicks do an excellent job of offering variety. Next, some moments simply feel unfair. For example, during one game, I typed a letter then a vine emerged to press backspace, the key popped off, and then on my way to retrieve it so I could type it again, a plant swallowed me whole. So, for a task that I already accomplished, I was set back a lot and wasted oodles of time which was admittedly funny but irritating nonetheless. Finally, the fact that only 2 players can play together is a missed opportunity. I imagine having 2 teams of 2 would have made for some wonderful competitive fun.
Couch co-op games often get compared to Overcooked but KeyWe is such an excellent example of the genre that from now on, games should be compared to it. If there's one co-op game that you play this year, make sure it's KeyWe.
- + Excellent blend of 3D platforming, clever scenarios, and frantic action
- + Adorable visuals and character customization
- + Loads of variety / rewarding collectibles
- - Core modes get repeated often
- - Some moments can feel a bit unfair
- - Why not allow more than 2 players?