Going on a journey requires a certain amount of preparation, but Wyv here, witty and stubborn as he is, decided it was safe enough to go treasure hunting empty-handed in the Amazonian forest. As a result, Wyv and Keep, two rookie treasure hunters, find themselves constricted in a challenging adventure, full of puzzles, peril, pygmies and… you guessed it, poop. That’s only if you do really, really, REALLY poorly at the 60 brain-melting puzzles you’ll come across. Truth be told, I was rewarded a lot of poop for my performances in Wyv and Keep; I guess I just wasn’t the right person set out for this dangerous task.
Wyv and Keep is perhaps the ultimate puzzle/adventure platformer you’ve been waiting to get your hands on. Developed by A Jolly Corpse and released in June this year, it certainly generates lots of nostalgic feelings of the 16-Bit SNES era, featuring plenty of colourful levels and funny, over-exagerated animations. Most importantly though, it is filled to the brim with complex, mind-boggling puzzles where your speed, thinking and cooperation skills are all tested.
The controls for this game are extremely simple and easy to master, with either the WASD keys or the arrow keys to move around and shift to swap between the two characters. The controls work flawlessly and although they might sound simple, the puzzles themselves aren’t. The game is perhaps best played in co-op with a buddy by your side or online as you’ll need to make use of both Wyv and Keep to solve puzzles. However, playing it alone works just fine too if you want to think things through carefully. The only things that could make it more difficult are speed and having to manoeuvre between Wyv and Keep.
Developer: A Jolly Corpse
Platform: PC, Mac, Linux
Genre: Puzzle platformer
Whilst jumping, running and evading snakes, tribes-men or poison darts, Wyv and Keep have to move boxes around the screen and use them to press down a big red button, triggering a trap door and consequently granting them access to the next puzzle. The concept works the same for each puzzle, but the levels quickly become increasingly unpredictable and challenging. It would have been interesting to see Wyv and Keep each possessing unique traits, but the two characters play much the same way. They can however hold up heavy weights, including the other character, and this adds flexibility to the gameplay.
Getting to understand the puzzle accordingly means dying a lot and restarting the level for the n-th time. Especially towards the end of the game, it is doubtful players will figure things out immediately in the first run. Wyv and Keep is all about trial-and-error and doing things in the right order if you don’t want to get stuck. Although some form of tutorials are provided by a string a journal entries left by an earlier exploring doctor, players will be left in the darkness for the most part. They’ll have to figure things out by themselves. The puzzles are perhaps difficult, but not impossible. It sounds cliché to say this, but the: “aah, why didn’t I think of this earlier?” often crossed my mind whenever finally finding the solution to a difficult puzzle.
Although not finding any major problems while playing, I did shamefully make use of one bug several times in order to reach higher platforms. But rest assured, this did not ruin the experience. The developers could also have put more emphasis on character development or plot, but arguably this is balanced out by the enormous amount of puzzle gameplay. There are enough things to keep players busy, whether this is collecting coins and treasures in puzzles, competing for the fastest times and scores or buying new hats from the friendly looking pygmy hat-seller.
In addition, with Wyv’s Cartographer, players can have a go at creating their own puzzles and sharing them with the community! At first there are six themes to chose from, but A Jolly Corpse have shown us how to make our own templates, using the mario theme as an example. In other words, a large amount of creation tools have been provided for the artistic people amongst us.
The humor in Wyv and Keep is absolutely brilliant and is a good distraction from all the puzzling. Accessible and without feeling forced, it really adds on to the final product. Wyv is childish, immature and acts like an idiot most of the time; he hates to read, and thinks he can pull anything off. Keep by contrast is calm and mature, lady-like and yet very tolerant of Wyv. Together they make an excellent duo. Even the soundtrack fits in with the mood, mixing retro sound effects with the melody of adventure and peril.