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Kya: Dark Lineage – Review

Brad Gallaway's picture

Dear Kya,

I'm writing this letter to tell you I was wrong, and I'm sorry. I know that I pride myself on being open-minded and I always try to give small games a chance, but I'm only human. Please forgive me for thinking that you were just another generic 3D platformer trying to keep up with some stiff competition. How could I have known? I know, I know "Don't judge a book" and all, but I'm sure you can understand how your vague screenshots and generic-sounding formula could fool even the most dedicated gem hunter into leaving you on the shelf.

But I'm glad I didn't.

Ok, actually I did. Several times. But I eventually changed my mind and the most important thing is that we ended up getting together. To your credit, I realized how badly I had misjudged you as soon as the title screen faded away. You've got so much going on, I hardly know where to begin.

Of course, I don't need to remind you that you're not lacking in the looks department. Your smoothly fluid animation is a sight to behold, and the color palette on display is like something out of a vibrant Technicolor mindscape. I certainly don't mean to flatter you, but I'll never forget that moment I looked out over the edge of your airborne islands and saw the endless sea of clouds below. Everything was so bright and warm. It took no effort at all to get me to believe in your world.

And oh, what a world. Your central theme based on the constant, buffeting winds of your planet is so completely woven into every aspect of your experience, visually and interactively, that I shed a tear at the sophisticated design you make look so effortless. Through it all, your perfect blending of art and gameplay never lapsed, not for one single moment. I'm still impressed even now.

For example, guiding you through the air currents of your world, flying up and over bottomless chasms or downward in soaring freefalls never failed to catch my breath. Even more impressive was the way you were able to use the same wind so many times in other ways. Take scaling that enemy tower, for instance. I fully expected you to find and use safe windbreaks to aid your ascent, but your coherence and solid vision really hit me when the gusts that threatened to sweep you away became the preserving force holding you to a sheer wall once you turned the corner. Then to top it off, you found a way to use that wind again, only this time by opening a locked door and unleashing it as a weapon against the guards at the top of the tower. Brilliant!

However, what knocked me out even more than your extreme elegance was the way you managed to cultivate feelings of experimentation and discovery in your vast, open levels while never letting me feel lost or misdirected. Figuring out complex areas made me feel as though I pulled off a significant achievement, and what made it even sweeter is that it never felt like the you were working against my progress-quite the opposite, in fact, due to all of the small, practical touches you included.

It really is the little things that mean so much, you know. Your warp points saved me from wasting time covering old ground, and your perfect (yes, literally perfect!) save system ensured that I never lost any significant progress. There are so many other niceties that there isn't room to mention them all here, but you didn't forget a thing .You even managed to include a honeybunch of player-friendly features that even the fanciest "blockbuster" titles fail to think of.

I know I'm starting to sound like some kind of spoony bard at this point, but I simply can't write this letter without also letting you know how I adored your well-rounded character techniques—things like your remote-controlled boomerang, wall-jumping, or riding those big kangaroo-shaped dinosaurs. Your hand-to-hand combat is unsurpassed, too. Every time I thought there couldn't possibly be any more combos or maneuvers, you surprised me with an unbelievable number of sharp-looking moves.

But, as wonderful as you are, there are a few areas in our relationship that I think we need to work on. It doesn't hurt to be honest, right? Well, communication is key and I'd like it if we could get to know each other a little better. I understand you're the type that lets your actions speak for you (and they speak quite clearly!), but don't be afraid to open up and let me know a little more about you. What are you thinking? What are you feeling? A little more characterization wouldn't hurt.

Also, I wouldn't mind if you polished up the camera action just a wee little bit. It's not a big deal, but I did notice some awkwardness here and there. Don't worry; we're already so close I'm sure that such a trivial thing can be put behind us in no time.

Anyway, I hope this letter expresses how I really feel about you and your Dark Lineage, Kya. You're one of the most satisfying, worthwhile, and excellent platformers I've ever met. Time spent with you was challenging but never frustrating, beautiful but never, ever shallow, and utterly captivating for every moment we were together. Still, all good things must come to an end hopefully we'll meet again, but even if we don't, let me say that love at first sight (okay, more like second or third) really does exist after all. This game is rated 9.5 out of 10

Category Tags
Platform(s): PS2  
Developer(s): Eden Studios  
Publisher: Atari  
Genre(s): Adventure/Explore  
ESRB Rating: Teen (13+)  
Articles: Game Reviews   Best Work  

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Thank you!

Dear Brad,

Thank you for this review. I remember reading this review a few months ago. And when I saw Kya from a local game store, I immediately picked it up.

I can see why people may mistake this game as another shovel ware at first glance and why you loved it in the end.

The creators put alot of thought and love to this game.

I wish they made another platformer games for this current gen console, that would rock.

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