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Telekinesis Kyle Hands-On: PAX East 2013

Telekinesis KyleOut of all the bustling AAA titles found on the floor of PAX East, there’s a smaller, independent scene brewing amongst the smaller crowds. One of the more interesting titles among this scene was Velium Interactive’s iOS puzzler, Telekinesis Kyle. The game features a young boy, Kyle, who’s escaping from the evil school led by Doctor Professor. The catch is that Kyle is able to, well, what do you think? He can move things with his mind. This isn’t the first time a concept like this has been attempted, even by similar 2D sidescroller-puzzles. However, Velium is aware of this fact, and added a few mechanics that make Telekinesis Kyle stand out from the crowd.

telekyleMost puzzle games like this let you go buckwild with the psychic powers. This isn’t the case for Telekinesis Kyle, but they don’t make it limited in a way where you aren’t enjoying  yourself. The puzzles I tried out were pretty simple, and as a man who doesn’t pride himself in puzzle prowess, I felt like they were unique enough keep a whole game going.

The controls aren’t perfect. Holding your finger to one side of an iPad will let Kyle move, and if you align (telekinetically or otherwise) the environment a certain way, he’ll hop from place to place. There is some room for improvement in this department, as some of the jumping mechanics leave a little bit to be desired. I often found myself falling, but whether this is the game’s fault or my idiocy remains to be seen. However, the penalty is only that you start the level over again, which isn’t that bad. Some puzzles get a little more complex and require more of the screen, so you simply move your hand around with two fingers to examine the stage, often revealing clues to getting out of a sticky situation.

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One of the more interesting aspects of limiting Kyle’s powers I saw was that he can’t lift more than a couple objects at a time without being weighed down. You’ll often be moving crates and boxes around, all contributing to the amount of weight Kyle puts on his psychic shoulders. Also, there are different materials for the boxes. Metal crates, obviously, are heavier than the normal wooden boxes. The way that the game lets you beat the game whatever way you’re able to is nice. Variety is definitely not the strongest trait of many iOS titles.

The team at Velium was quick to tell me that I was being shown the beta, so various visual bugs tended to stick around. None of them were game-breaking, so some of the issues will more than likely be resolved as it nears completion. The bugs are little things, like the psychic aura that Kyle has when he moves things wil stay after use. Didn’t change the game one bit, so it’s not much to worry about.

I was shown five levels, but there’s no indication of how many levels that the full game will have. I’m willing to bet that it’ll have more than a few to start out, and offer free updates or downloadable content for additional levels. The barometer for your success is shown by stars, similar to Angry Birds, except that there’s a specific equation to find that out. Essentially, complete the level as fast as possible while exerting the least amount of pressure on Kyle as possible. I understand the stigma that comes with ‘iOS puzzle-platformer’, but cast those fears aside. Telekinesis Kyle is on my rader, and should be on yours as well.