KeyWe review: Two birds, one job

KeyWe asks the necessary query: can two, tiny kiwi birds turn into publish workplace employees? As I put extra time into KeyWe, the reply turned clear: sure they’ll, and it makes for an enthralling, but difficult expertise.

You’ve received mail

keywe review
All of the characters in KeyWe are lovable, together with the octopus that helps type mail.

The premise devised by the group at Stonewheat & Sons is straightforward, and one which has confirmed to work within the wildly well-liked Overcooked sequence: take a comparatively simple process, discombobulate it, and get gamers to work collectively to get the job performed. This has been utilized to the postal service, the place issues from telegrams and letters to parcels and the sorting of mail is a multi-step strategy of zany gameplay components and concepts. Oh, and also you’re now not a human, however a tiny, flightless kiwi, a chook native to New Zealand.

As my companion and I booted up KeyWe, the opening cinematic outlined the principle story, which works as a backdrop to the ludicrous puzzles you’ll be dealing with. Two kiwi birds are beginning their job on the native publish workplace that is filled with cute and charming characters. Right here, they’ll must work together with the normal-sized gear with the intention to do their jobs. The story takes place over three seasons, beginning in summer season and ending on the shut of winter. After a quick tutorial of hopping round a desk, ringing a bell, and getting our image taken, we had been off and into the primary batch of duties.

Utilizing your chook mind 

Every of the publish workplace’s workstations obtain modifications because the story progresses, making your job a bit more difficult!

There are a handful of predominant puzzles in KeyWe that obtain differing types of modifiers the additional via the story you progress. One of many first ones you play duties you with utilizing a typewriter to ship out messages that seem on-screen. The issue is that the buttons are scattered in regards to the place, requiring the 2 gamers to work collectively to coordinate who’s hitting what button subsequent. In later ranges, the buttons swap locations, the messages come written in code, and there’s even a model the place a number of messages are available in directly that should be despatched to totally different places.

The tougher model of this stage has bugs added. The bugs decide up the phrases and the kiwis, transferring them across the workstation.

This ramping up of problem applies to the entire predominant set of puzzles. Sending out letters has gamers accumulating phrases from round a desk and gluing them to a little bit of paper in a ransom-note trend, earlier than packing it right into a cassowary’s saddle bag (the supply employees are cassowaries, which is a terrifying idea). In later variations, the phrases should be reduce into items to kind new phrases, bugs snatch and transfer phrases round, and phrases are blacked out solely to be revealed with a UV mild.

The system of including modifiers works nicely to construct upon the inspiration, creating extra complexity with out sacrificing understanding. The player is straight away acquainted with the mission’s fundamentals however should work to include new methods in the event that they need to beat the ever-ticking clock.

Preening your plumage

Gamers should buy costume items utilizing stamps which might be earned by getting excessive scores within the ranges or by discovering secrets and techniques.

On the finish of every sport, the stopwatch will present your time, and provide you with a breakdown of the occasions wanted with the intention to hit the varied medals (bronze, silver, and gold). By getting a greater time, gamers will earn extra stamps, that are then used to unlock cute little cosmetics in your kiwi. My companion decked her kiwi chook out in multi-colored feathers and a witch hat whereas I rocked some inexperienced plumage and an enormous radio headset.

The cosmetics within the sport supply gamers long-term objectives to work via as soon as the principle story is completed. By replaying ranges, gamers can earn extra stamps to unlock different goodies. There are additionally “additional time” ranges that are mini-games that don’t precisely match into the “publish workplace duties” the birds are accountable for. These actions get you to do issues feed the cassowaries, type cash, and check bubble wrap by popping the bubbles. Every of those duties have their very own beauty objects that unlock as soon as gamers accumulate a certain quantity of factors by replaying the degrees.

Each stage, whether or not it was a story-related mission or a novel additional time mini-game, was a pleasure to play. My companion and I had been laughing and shouting instructions as we tried desperately to finish the job, discover hidden secrets and techniques, and get a greater rating.

Ruffled feathers

Discovering the correct angle for a few of the button prompts is usually a bit finicky.

By way of how KeyWe feels to play, the controls do nicely to not get in the way in which of gamers performing duties. Although, there have been occasions the place I felt that sure interplay factors weren’t as beneficiant with their boundaries as I believed they might be. One level that tripped me up was once I needed to bounce on the again of a cassowary to do up its saddle bag, which required standing and dealing with a particular path and tapping the Y button. Have been I dealing with barely the fallacious manner, the immediate wouldn’t seem and I’d waste valuable seconds.

Whereas KeyWe is billed as a co-op expertise, there’s a solo possibility, however it’s about as difficult as tackling Overcooked’s missions by your self. The player can faucet the left or proper bumper to change which chook they’re controlling, or maintain the button to maneuver them each on the similar time. Little doubt gamers will get fairly good at this, however the sport is finest skilled with two gamers.


One small gripe I’ve, that I really feel I need to air, relies on the sport’s setting. There are kiwis and cassowaries in KeyWe, two birds which might be native to very particular places within the southern hemisphere. And but, in-game, because the season shifted from summer season to autumn, the calendar was labelled as “fall” after which because the snow started seem in winter, Christmas-like instructions had been strung up across the publish workplace. These are two identifiers of a northern hemisphere setting. It’s simply disappointing to really feel like your small nook of the world is being introduced to a wider viewers solely to have small particulars succumb to Americanisation and have the sensation of, “Oh, this isn’t truly set the place I’m from.”

Love letters

KeyWe is an absolute deal with to play; filled with attraction and problem.

KeyWe does an excellent job at delivering precisely what’s on the parcel: it’s a cute and charming co-op expertise that may problem your communication abilities. So seize a good friend and prepare to type the mail, as a result of this one is one thing particular.

This review relies on a Steam code supplied by the writer. KeyWe is out there on PC and Nintendo Swap on August 31 and can be availabe on Xbox One, Xbox Sequence X/S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 at a later date.

Hailing from the land down below, Sam Chandler brings a little bit of the southern hemisphere aptitude to his work. After bouncing spherical a number of universities, securing a bachelor diploma, and getting into the online game trade, he is discovered his new household right here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There’s nothing he loves greater than crafting a information that may assist somebody. When you need assistance with a information, or discover one thing not fairly proper, you may Tweet him: @SamuelChandler | KeyWe review: Two birds, one job


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