World peace has collapsed, East and West are in perpetual war and the survivor communities are in lockdown. The steampunk setting thankfully differentiates this subtle choice of setting for KAPIA's world from the banal reality of our own.
So what do we have here? KAPIA is a creation of 2FOR2, a studio recommended by a couple who funded the production of the game through personal savings and a small-scale ($13,615) campaign on Kickstarter . Their creation is a 3D point and click adventure that pays homage to the glorious pages of the genre at the beginning of the new millennium. Its aesthetics and mechanics resemble the epics we loved in our youth, such as Grim Fandango, Syberia and Longest Journey.
The adventure begins with the return of Stefan, a renegade pilot, to the dome-protected city of KAPIA after a research mission to the post-apocalyptic frozen world outside. Inside the dome, it seems that something is wrong and instead of being reunited with his granddaughter Reny, Grandpa Stefan becomes involved in the adventure we are called upon to solve to pull the world of KAPIA out of the doldrums.
The flow of the adventure takes us from scene to scene, in confined spaces where we have to solve a series of puzzles or gain information through dialogues with the characters. In each scene change we take turns playing with grandfather Stefan or granddaughter Reny, sometimes visiting the same place as the previous character in a different perspective and approach to solving the puzzles.
Interspersed between these scenes as a loading screen is little Reny's crayon drawing album, in which sketches made by real children listening to the story of the toys alternate with a professional artistic depiction of them, which I must admit that as a loading screen I found it very beautiful and organically tied to the game.
In terms of puzzles or general difficulty, those who were looking for the titles KAPIA draws inspiration from will be disappointed. The challenge is minimal and the inventory from which we are asked to combine items is rudimentary, never having more than three items on our characters. And even in case one gets stuck in the rudimentary "oh a lock, I have a key in my inventory" style puzzles, a help system is provided to bail the player out.
Given the ease of the puzzles and the short duration of the game, I would think that its creators are probably targeting parents who loved the iconic adventure titles of the 00's and would like to introduce their children to the logic of these games.
However, the KAPIA' story suffers from an artificial complexity that younger children will not be able to decode. Moreover, older ones will find the meaning confusing, pretentious and ultimately empty. I think it is no longer enough to want to say that power corrupts and to try to connect every situation with "what we live" in such a general and vague way.
It doesn't help the way the narrative is told and the story unfolds the extremely short length of the game. In three to five hours, neither the sense of odyssey of Syberia or Longest Journey can be created, nor can the heroes be developed and we gain a connection with them. It's certainly understandable that we're talking about a two-person work. In this respect, the overall quality is admirable, especially in the area of animation and the aesthetics and design of costumes and architecture.
I must also mention the excellent work that has been done in the character voices part. Stefan's actor in particular really carries the whole game with his gurgling stoic hoarseness. Still, overall KAPIA feels more like a demo of a bigger idea. For the price offered you won't find an Odyssey but a Cephalonia-Ithaca passage. Graphical and short.