Impressions: Wyv & Keep

It's like the Goonies, but with real dwarves

Can you hear that? No, listen more closely. Tune out those noisy thoughts of yours. What do you hear?

Exactly. The sound and fury of big-name game releases is on its annual Summer holiday, and the resultant quiet means us shy and retiring PC types can settle down contentedly with a fine crop of indie games for a month or two. Let’s turn our fond attention next to Wyv & Keep: The Temple of the Lost Idol, a puzzle-sorta-platformer that looks like Spelunky and plays a little like olden Blizzard gem The Lost Vikings. Only more fiendish.

Only a little like Lost Vikings, mind. The key difference (other than the fact it doesn’t star grumpy bearded men from the past) is that you’re in control of two characters, and you’re often required to play both at once rather than cooly jump between them. It’s got the best possible control system it could have for this task – WASD for one character, cursor keys for the other, and that’s it. Movement is all, and dual movement is necessary to get you to the finish line. As are fast reactions and a logical mind. It’s a classical approach in its way, but its coming at puzzle-platforming and multi-character puzzle games) with breezy cheer and expertly stripped-back systems.

Both characters are identical in everything except appearance, which lends W&K a certain purity, though I’d definitely be interested to see how it would play out if they did the Lego Star Wars thing and had per-character tweaks. No matter, it works well and it looks perfectly charming.

In what’s increasingly the model for platform-esque games, you’ve the choice of simply solving the puzzle or of collecting all the loot to end the level with maximum arbitrary reward points if you’re into that sort of thing. There’s another Spelunky link there, in that you’re controlling treasure hunters. Clearly, they want all the tresasure. Me, I’m content enough to simply logic my way through – it’s exacting stuff, with one wrong move (usually involving a crate ending up in the wrong place) often requiring a level restart. But that’s okay; that’s what Wyv and Keep is about.

You can, of course, also tackle it as a two-player affair – which I imagine would involve an awful lot of hysterical, desperate shouting but perhaps takes away the brain-bending co-ordination required to move two little guys around at once. Anyone who’s ever seen me man the drums in Rock Band will understand precisely why I am so bad at this. Time and again, I tumbled either Wyv or Keep to their tiny doom, believing I was controlling the other. This means I felt like the cleverest man in all the world when I did beat a level. Or, at least, like I wasn’t the most malcoordinated man in all the world after all.

Wyv & Keep has a free preview build out now, which is basically doing demo duties. Hooray for demos! That’s what I’ve played, so I can’t speak for the full game, but if you’re suitably tickled by the demo preview, you can pre-order it for $8. Gets you access to early builds, plus a level editor with which to construct whatever distressingly sadistic trap-levels that dark, dark mind of yours can devise.

Oh, and I particularly like the abject grief Wyv or Keep show should their other half cop it. Aw, there there.

28 Comments

  1. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    Seems good, but I like my puzzle games and my twitch games to be sepearate affairs, always. Music is very good, though. Impressivly so.

  2. pakoito says:

    I wish I had a friend to play with. Fucking summer jobs.

  3. Coriform says:

    Ooooh, this is looking tasty.

  4. Sensai says:

    Listen developers: if you bring it to Steam, I can guarantee at least 2 sales.

    …right now, I can merely promise them. That’s the best I can do.

  5. BeamSplashX says:

    I remember the old version back when the temporary main menu showed the game’s title as Super Dinnar Foerc EX (written in MSPaint scribbles).

    Classic.

  6. kuran says:

    Such beautiful graphics… kinda reminds me of Naughty Ones on Amiga.

  7. sonicblastoise says:

    I love the death reactions! Losing your Legends of the Hidden Temple partner is quite possibly the most tear-inducing thing that could ever happen! That and failing to please the Idol Gods

    This game looks like great fun

  8. ComradePenguin says:

    5 levels have killed my brain completely. Wonderful stuff.

  9. Howl says:

    Looks like the love-child of Rick Dangerous and Kuri Kuri Mix. Good stuff!

    • LionsPhil says:

      I read

      WASD for one character, cursor keys for the other, and that’s it

      and was reminded of trying to play jumpnbump against myself. Which, it turns out, hurts your brain like buggery.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I read

      WASD for one character, cursor keys for the other, and that’s it

      and was reminded of trying to play jumpnbump against myself. Which, it turns out, is quite the challenge.

      Oh spamfilter. Why do you mock me?

    • LionsPhil says:

      I read

      WASD for one character, cursor keys for the other, and that’s it

      and was reminded of trying to play jumpnbump against myself. Which, it turns out, is quite the challenge.

      Oh spamfilter. Why do you hate all that is beautiful? If you google it, you want the icculus link, not the scum-sucking Flash atrocity that comes up as a first result.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I read “WASD for one character, cursor keys for the other” and was reminded of trying to play rabbity classic jumpnbump against myself. Which, it turns out, is quite the challenge.

  10. Ateius says:

    *Cough* Nevermind. I’m sure it’s lovely.

  11. mechabuddha says:

    I can’t for the life of me get the preview build to work. Crashes the instant I start it. But the video makes it looks amazingly fun. Hopefully, I can get it working and try it out.

    • Twitch says:

      I did notice while I was developing, that the intro video had randomly refused to play, and after some troubleshooting, narrowed it down to me having installed the K-Lite Codec Pack. I’m not sure if this is what’s actually causing your crash – but I’d love to investigate more! Get in touch with me – uvTwitch on twitter and skype, email I won’t post here to avoid spam but I’m sure you can find it – and I’ll do my best to get it running for you :)

    • Adam Milecki says:

      I had the same problem, but downloading the latest build of the preview and making sure to install the .NET and XNA setups before playing seemed to work.

  12. Dave Mongoose says:

    I rage-quit after repeatedly failing to get the treasure chest in the bottom left of the second (iirc) level… the one with the arrow trap and the water and the ceiling spikes and the jumping-into-the-wall-and-falling-in-the-water-every-single-time.

    Being obsessive about collecting everything makes this more frustrating than fun, unfortunately :(.

  13. carn1x says:

    Is it possible to play this on a gamepad with the control scheme? I guess I could just map the buttons with some mapping software if not. For some reason I have gamepad fever lately.

    • Twitch says:

      It has support for Xbox 360 gamepads built in, but not DirectInput gamepads. It’s something I could add in if there’s enough demand, but in the meantime, Joy2Key isn’t all that hard to use!

  14. TideGear says:

    Hello, all, my name is Adam Milecki and I’m helping to represent Wyv and Keep! Feel free to ask me anything about the game!

  15. vatara says:

    Reminds me of this great old puzzle game, Quadrax. Only with the twitch aspect.

  16. ChainsawCharlie says:

    Really like the music. Would buy a Steam version of this game.