Karma Miwa is a cute, deliciously playable remake of the classic Atari game Snookie.
The gameplay relies on timing and planning rather than lightning-fast reflexes which make it a great game for kids or gamers who need a break from high-twitch games. Not to say the game isn’t challenging, but frantic clicking is not required. However, bugs prevent it from being completely enjoyable.
I am always a fan of old-school games that don’t rely on blobby pixel art to fuel the nostalgia engine. On that front, Karma Miwa delivers. The red-hued environment is unusual, with an alien Mars-like feel. The primary character is a charming bird that peacefully waddles through each area in search of his companion. The music is soothing and well-matched to the leisurely pace of the game.
The method of survival in this game is to avoid (almost) everything that moves. The character has no attack, so timing and placement are critical. And the controls are simple; arrow keys to move, spacebar to jump.
Jumping in Karma Miwa takes a little bit to get used to. In games like Mario Brothers, the player can alter the course or length of the jump mid-leap. This isn’t possible in Karma Miwa. Jumps are identical in length and duration every time which requires a change in strategy if you’re accustomed to games where jumps are mutable. In Karma Miwa, the character has to be in the right position before jumping, or you won’t end up where you want to go. The game is also timed, which increases the difficulty because you can’t waste a lot of time making sure you’re in just the right position. It also adds an element of puzzle games because jumping at the edge of the platform (or whatever you’re standing on at the time) is often the quickest way to die. At first, it requires a lot of trial and error, but it becomes easier after spending more time in the game.
One nice feature of the game is the “Practice Mode.” Typically, the player starts each level with five lives. If the bird gets hit more than twice in a level, it dies. If the player has exhausted all their lives, instead of rage quitting, the player can continue in “Practice Mode.” It doesn’t count for unlocking new levels or difficulty settings, but it does help to familiarize yourself with all the pitfalls in a level before playing “for real.”
If the game seems too easy, there are additional levels of difficulty which are unlocked by completing all the areas in each level. Unfortunately, due to a bug in the game, I was unable to get past the first tier of difficulty.
Karma Miwa has three areas with several levels in each area. There is a critical bug that makes the game unplayable outside the first area. Every time the character dies in Area B or C, the game instantly crashes. This is a significant flaw and is made all the more annoying because I enjoyed the game enough to want to keep playing.
Very few games have nothing I would like to add or change, and Karma Miwa is no exception. Although I enjoyed the core game, a few minor tweaks would make meaningful improvements.
Color changes to the setting: The environment changes very little between the different levels and areas. It gets dreary after a while. A different hue for each area is a small change that would break up the monotony.
Preview of levels and area completion ratio: There is no in-game indication of how many levels are in each area, or how far you’ve progressed in the area. Since you can’t move forward until you’ve successfully beaten the current level, it is impossible to know if there is more content to unlock.
Based on older reviews, it appears that in previous iterations of the game it was possible to play both birds, and each one had different strengths. It does not seem to be an option in this release of the game, but now that I know it was there, I want it. Would some levels be easier with the faster bird or the better jumper? I need to know!
Karma Mia is a refreshingly relaxing game. It isn’t always easy, but the challenges aren’t stressful. It is the perfect game for days when you want to enjoy yourself without a ton of frustration. It’s only significant flaw is the bug that causes the game to crash repeatedly. Unfortunately, as this makes the game unplayable, it takes a toll on the overall score.