Emergency biology lesson: Kiwis are a species of flightless bird that are endemic to New Zealand. They have a beak that looks unsettlingly like a mosquito’s blood-slurping proboscis, and they lay honkin’ big eggs. Kiwis are, simply put, a very unusual species. Kiwi Brown, on the other hand, isn’t an unusual game despite the presence of a Kiwi hero, but it’s still a solid and challenging shooter.
Kiwi Brown is all about a kiwi who must shoot seeds from his beak to stop an alien swarm of bubbles. Being a kiwi, our hero must remain earthbound, though he flaps his stubby wings heroically as he darts to and fro. You move the kiwi back and forth by sliding your finger on the screen, and you shoot the falling bubbles by tapping.
We’ll call that big one the housing bubble.
When you shoot a big bubble, it becomes two smaller bubbles. You must shoot those bubbles before they bounce on top of you, and so on. Sometimes power-ups are encased inside the bubbles, which can help you pause their maddening bounce, reward you with an extra life, or drop a bomb on you. The bomb is not a power-up. Get away, fast!
The goal of Kiwi Brown is to pop bubbles and tally up a high score. The game keeps track of a traditional score, and in addition, you’re also rated according to the number of days you survive the alien bubble onslaught before all your lives are used up. No, you don’t get to rest when the sun goes down. A kiwi’s work is never done (anyway, they’re nocturnal).
Beware the evil midnight bomber, what bombs at midnight.
Kiwi Brown is fast and fun, and might remind you of a quirky version of the arcade classic Asteroids. The game takes another cue from Asteroids aside from its basic structure: The pellets the kiwi shoots at his bubble foes are ridiculously small, which can make hitting the bubbles–especially the small ones–something of a pain. The trick is practice. Kiwi Brown is one of those games where you’ll see your score improve almost every time you play through it.
The game’s graphics are bright and cheery, though our kiwi hero looks a little depressed thanks to his big pair of hangdog eyes. The playing field feels a little small at times, especially when the bubbles really start bouncing in earnest.
Kiwi Brown is basically gaming simplicity, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s effortless to pick up and learn, which makes it an ideal time-passer for those dreary chores that leave you firmly planted in queues at the bank or grocery store. Also, watching your kiwi friend flap back and forth across the screen kind of grants you an energy boost in itself. If the kiwi can knock himself out popping bubbles, you can get through whatever tedious tasks life throws at you.