Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 10

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 6


Say what you will about the unoriginal line-up of titles on the 32X. You can't ignore Kolibri. It's a game so goofy, so different, and so strange, that it's worth playing just to say you've played it. There's nothing else like it, and quite possibly, there never will be.

In all honesty, this is just a shooter. However, it's the premise of it all that makes you wonder just how late programmers are required to stay up during crunch time. For as annoying as birds can be in some games, Kolibri finally lets gamers play that role. You're not a hawk, you're not a vulture; you're a hummingbird. You're a hummingbird charged with the task of saving the world after a crystal grants you powers. That's out there.

Even though you can fire laser beams from your head (!), Kolibri is actually quite peaceful. It lets you play at your pace. You're not forced to move like in almost every other horizontal and vertical shooter ever made. Design issues abound, there's no question this game could pass for inclusion in a yoga class.

Part of the problem is that the game doesn't lead you very well at all. If you don't have the instruction book, you'll have absolutely no idea what you're supposed to do in the very first screen unless you get lucky. The same goes for the rest of the stages. The basic idea is to clear the stage of all enemies and suck flowers dry. There's no map or radar to tell you where you need to go. You're on your own.

By giving the gamer free flight, you're going to run into trouble. Again, due to the lack of radar, it's impossible to know what dangers are around you. Cheap hits are all over the place, and controlling this flighty bird doesn't offer much in the way of accuracy.

Action is bland and generic. It has all the clichés of a 2-D shooter down: Power-ups, health, etc. It doesn't do anything different with the aspects. Strafing is important, and that's nothing new either. Still, this is a game that manages to pull you in somehow, and keep you playing.

Part of that comes from the beautiful art design. This game seems to use each and every color available to it, showcasing amazing depth and shading. It's definitely a leap from the hardware attached to this console, even if it's not 3-D. There's not much to the sprites, other than they separate nicely from the backdrops.

The music is also suited to the game. It's a unique sound, heavy on bass, and very soothing. This isn't something you would expect from a game so focused on shooting things, yet it couldn't fit the game better. The sound effects are a source of minor annoyance, especially some of the weapons.

Kolibri is simply too unique to write off completely. Even if the gameplay dynamics seem broken in areas, it's a must play title. You can tell the marketing team tried desperately to sell this game with lines on the back of the box like "intoxicating aerial acrobatics" and "panoramic menagerie of colors." It's just a little above average, yet you need this game in your collection.


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Last updated: Sunday, September 25, 2005 02:43 PM