Developer & Publisher: 2 FOR 2
Released: January 25, 2022
OS: Minimum, Windows 7 and above; Recommended, Window 7 and above
Processor: Minimum, Core i3-2100 (3,3 GHz) or AMD Phenom X4 945 (3.0 Ghz);
Recommended, Core i5-3470 (3.2 GHz) or AMD FX 8350 (4.0 GHz)
RAM: Minimum 4 GB; Recommended 6 GB
Graphics: Minimum, Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 2 GB or Raedon HD4770 2 GB
Recommended, Nvidia 970 4 GB or Raedon 280X 3 GB
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 15 GB
From a husband and wife team based in Montenegro, KAPIA tells the story of a collapsed World Union, beset by divided coalitions geographically, politically and societally, and an intelligent infection forcing cities into lockdown. The soul of the land has died, and the world needs saving. Up steps Stefan and his young granddaughter Reny.
It’s a fantastical world, described by its makers as a reimagined living museum. Those elements are evident throughout, a 3D pastiche of “old” and “new.” There is a funkiness about the animation style, one that suits the world it establishes and the denizens that inhabit it. It is a world full of colour and movement and detail, plus a wonderment or two.
You get to play both Reny and Stefan, but not by choosing between them. Each has a converging narrative, one far more mundane when it starts than the other, but arriving at a common point. The game flicks back and forth between them, and they contrast nicely with each other as well as being reflective of the characters themselves.
The game is point and click (at least when played with a mouse) and plays in the third person with a free-wheeling POV, by which I mean that the “camera” isn’t fixed in any way, moving around almost as much as you do as you explore. It might be behind you, then swing around to watch you as you walk the street, and then swoop up and overhead to observe from on-high. It might stay down low and watch as you walk the alleyway between two buildings, or get right in tight as you explore a bedroom or other confined space. I thought it accentuated the 3D environment, and enhanced the living-world feel of things.
It did though at times make exploring a bit fiddly. You can’t force the camera to move, other than by moving your character, and nor can you tell it where you would like it to be. There were times when the camera was in tight, so where I could click to move was limited, and I needed to make several little moves before the camera pulled back out and gave me more room. It can also affect what you can see, in that you can’t for instance turn around to quickly take in a room upon entering, but will have to move about until you are satisfied the camera has “shown” you the room’s entirety. I also missed one or two things because I hadn’t moved to a particular point; doing so then pulled the camera in showing me the space immediately in front of me and revealing what hadn’t been apparent before.
Most games though require you to explore carefully, and if you don’t look where you should then you will miss things. So despite my occasional grimace of agitation and wishing for a button that would shift the camera, overall I quite enjoyed what this element contributed to the experience.
The story is quite an elaborate one, and traverses some futuristic as well as some more familiar themes. Its telling is spread out across the five or so hours it took me, and never felt forced. While Stefan is the main character for its unravelling, Reny does her bit as well, and helps build the world itself.
Logic and diversity was the key to the puzzling according to the makers, and by and large that approach was met. Many involve finding and using the right items, either in the game world or with other items. Some can be combined in the inventory bar that appears top of screen in response to the mouse, others must be looked at in close up, and then have another item applied in some way. There are also conversation puzzles, which are fairly forgiving (choose a wrong answer and you just get to try again), and what the makers describe as “a whole bunch of logic mini-games.” Some of these are really out and out puzzles, but a couple need to be completed in a certain time which introduces a gaming element. There is indeed a logic to them, you just have to perform it in the time allowed. Several tries are part and parcel of determining and then applying that logic.
One was not logical. You play a boxing game with little toy robots early on, a game you have to win two out of three times (as far as I could tell no amount of losing lets you move on). You may have a different view, blocking punches and striking back strategically, but while it wasn’t too difficult (and provided further variety), it wasn’t a whole lot more than a rapid click-fest.
There are a handful of other sorts of puzzles (controlling Robot Robbi with the helmet is an example), and some have several parts to a successful solution. I enjoyed the puzzling palette, and while it isn’t a hard game you can choose to be assisted by a hint system which you can turn on and off at will. It has a timed element as well (you have to wait a certain amount of time before a hint becomes available), indicated by the little stop watch/es top right of screen. They might be an answer or they might be a prod or an insight into what to do next. I can’t speak for all of them, but when I used them they were helpful.
I should mention that if you see an image with eg. Reny walking on a barrel, don’t think that you have to have a degree of dexterity to keep her there. You will move her and the barrel around but she doesn’t fall off. Similarly, she won’t fall off the roof beams you are walking her about; just click where you want her to go and she will walk there. Maybe I missed something, but this isn’t a game that wants you to balance precariously.
Your endeavours are accompanied by a varied and not overused soundtrack, and ambient sound abounds. Voice acting is suitably eclectic, and while some leave a little to be desired, nothing grated. Importantly, the leads were both strong.
Clicking on a character will generate look and talk icons, and clicking hotspots will produce similar results. You can choose how the inventory operates in the options (drag and drop or click and click again), and you can tweak a range of settings, including whether to have subtitles or not. The TAB key highlights hotspots, and load screens are accompanied by a rather nifty set of drawings by different children, the colour bleeding in as the screen loads. Each drawing is attributed, and full details are in the credits.
KAPIA autosaves exclusively, and you can just resume where you left off. It saves regularly and works fine, but while you can choose to replay the “level” you are on, you can’t reload any earlier save, and starting a new game deletes all your progress. You don’t really need more than the single autosave point, unless like me you enjoy going back to re-play certain sequences or explore how some particular aspect works. Regardless, I doubt it will detract from your overall enjoyment.
Which should be considerable, based on my own.
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-9700K 3.7GHz
RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB
Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB