Updated: Kona’s Crate Review

Kona’s Crate has just been given a small, but important update. Now, your progress is retained regardless of which social platform you choose. Additionally, the pause menu informs players of a feature that we missed the first time around: the ability to preview a level by swiping and pinching.

This really helps make the game more user-friendly, as flying blind the first time you’re playing a level is definitely not the way to go. Though these are small improvements, a more substantial update has been promised for the near future. This update will feature at least 20 new levels, and we’ll let you know when it’s available.

We don’t know who exactly Chief Kona is, what’s in his crate, or why he picked such a convoluted means of having it delivered. We do know, however, that it’s a lot of fun to move his parcel from Point A to Point B, which is exactly what you do in Kona’s Crate.

Getting from Point A to Point B is by no means a cakewalk. As you progress through the game’s 60 levels, these pathways become increasingly curvy and obstructed. They don’t look all that brutal or serpentine, but the game’s controls and physics– which are reminiscent of the arcade classic Lunar Lander– make moving through these mazes quite a challenge.

Ooh Ee, Ooh Aah Aah, Ting Tang, Walla Walla Bing Bang.

The crate is on a jet-propelled platform that you control by tapping either half of the screen to activate the platform’s jets. The crate can be bumped off of the platform pretty easily, though, and you have to be careful that you’re not moving too fast. Either that, or you need to be moving so fast that the force of the jets keeps the crate from going anywhere at all, which will often be the best approach if you’re trying to achieve the best possible score.

It’s unusual that calling a game frustrating is a compliment, but that’s precisely the case with Kona’s Crate. The gameplay is so simple and responsive that when you fail a level, you almost always feel like it was your fault and that you can do better on the next try.

Kona’s Crate has some clever achievements for Game Center and OpenFeint, as well as online leaderboards for the latter. You’ll probably want to return to levels to improve your best time.

What’s in the box?

However, we noticed that if you switch your social media support back and forth between Game Center and OpenFeint, it seems to affect your progress. For example, if you unlock level 3.17 while logged into Game Center, you can’t access it if you then log into OpenFeint. It’s worth noting in case you find yourself wanting both Game Center achievements and OpenFeint leaderboards.

The level select screen is structured a lot like Angry Birds, but Kona’s Crate doesn’t have quite as much variety. The game’s visuals don’t change much, and the level design is fairly repetitive. Later levels introduce explosives to avoid and a few other twists, but the game feels mostly the same from levels one through 60.

Even though it’s not as great as it could have been, Kona’s Crate is still a good value, especially for just $0.99. The developers have promised more content in free updates, but right now it’s a little bit disappointing that there isn’t more to do and see. Kona’s Crate does have a great foundation, so we’re looking forward to playing even more levels.

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