The sky isn’t falling, its just filing cabinets. Kelp isn’t only seaweed anymore, its also a brutally difficult puzzle platformer that has you dropping filing cabinets from an umbrella to climb your way to an exit door. You don’t have to enter the door, just touch it, where you then you’re sucked inside, the door shrinks and its onto the next level. Its a unique game with forty levels that I’ll never get through. You’re kept energized by some amazing chip tune music and its simple yet beautiful art style.
On the surface you might see a blank empty screen where your only challenge managing not only your character, but the umbrella at the top, but underneath it all there’s quick rising lava, blood or water destine to drown anyone in its wake. The difficulty comes in managing the umbrella with your mouse to drop blocks with your mouse button. The umbrella can drop cabinets as quick as you can click.
You move your character with the A and D keys with W to jump. To retry, you simply hit the R key. Death doesn’t respawn you, you’re forced to hit the R key. Then to start the level you’ll need to hit the Q key. That’s an extra step in an already complex game. I feel like any key should start the level. So I can get my umbrella into place.
The jump itself is forced to a single height of three boxes. There is no short or high jumps. That causes some havoc when hazards are implemented. These hazards always seem to force you to jump, but have other objects above them to kill you, so you’re forced to quickly drop a filing cabinet, hop on top of it while a projectile flies above and below you. Its an amazing test of anyone’s dexterity and timing. Lucky for those brave enough to try the game, you have infinite retries and you’ll need them. The game is even nice enough to warn you where projectiles start so you can make a game plan before you brave each level.
Since keys cannot be rebound, I made an attempt for third party software to play the game with a 360 controller. There was no such luck, it only made things worse even with the jump and drop relegated to the triggers. I had the left thumb stick moving my character, and the right moving the umbrella. Needless to say with a fast, upbeat game like this, I only found swift death over and over again. Every death sends your stick figure character flipping end over end like a comedic tumble.
As the game progresses, there will be platforms that block the falling filing cabinets. Nothing will block the rising liquid from sealing your doom. Doing something as simple as moving left, jumping up and moving right becomes a challenge when you also need to drop a block in place and jump on it before two projectiles get you. It gets more intense from there, at some point, you’ll need to drop a box where you’re standing, jump over it while its in mid air, curve your jump over water to dodge the falling box and then coil back in to land on the box you just dodged.
There are a few other things the game introduces, such as anchors that will reduce the rising water level. Blocks that get dropped when you hit a switch. Some levels offer quick doors almost as a hectic breather in a crazy nightmare.
Kelp is a game that thrives off your pain and mind bending dexterity. There are people that will be up for this crazy challenge and love the laughter of your constant deaths. Kelp will be right there laughing with you.