You know the story: an exotic and mysterious temple holds an ancient treasure that tempts our fortune-seekers into risking their lives on an adventure in pursuit of glory and wealth (mostly wealth). Indiana Jones did it, Nathan Drake did it, Lara Croft did it, and now Wyv and Keep try their hands at the treasure-hunting profession. But for them, and the players, there are many puzzles and many more boxes in their way.
Wyv and Keep is a puzzle platformer that invites players to assist the duo in the many perils of the jungle/temple that must be traversed to reach the legendary “lost idol.” The story follows the bickering partners as they attempt to become worthy adventurers in their own right. The dialogue between the two is humorous and cute, evoking the sense of two siblings squabbling at every decision yet still caring for one another very much. An interesting gameplay feature that arises from their distinct personalities is how they read the lost notes of previous explorers. Wyv, the not-too-bright adventurer, will take a completely different meaning from a cautionary message than his more intelligent and graceful companion Keep.
The core of the gameplay of Wyv and Keep is the puzzles. Each level is a single puzzle taking up the entire screen and requires the player to maneuver Wyv and Keep to the exit and closer to their final destination. In order to get the partners out of the level you’ll have to manipulate the boxes around you so that they may jump to a higher ledge or activate a switch to reveal a hidden door. Learn to love the boxes because you’ll be using boxes in ways you never thought possible. Seriously, there are a lot of boxes. Imagine all the boxes in Hangar 51 at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. You’ll be pushing that many boxes.
The design of the game’s puzzles represent both the game’s largest positive and negative attributes. Over the course of the 15-20 hours game, you’ll play over 40 levels in which you navigate the titular characters through many dangers. The puzzles ramp up in difficulty from straightforward and logical to requiring quick reflexes and plenty of planning. So while the difficulty design of the puzzles is well done, the variety of the puzzles aren’t as similarly done. As you play more and more of the game you realize that you’ve pretty much encountered everything it has to offer, making the upcoming levels lose their freshness and engagement. Reaching the endgame loses its luster, especially when each of the later levels are quick to punish your mistakes.
The largest distinguishing feature of Wyv and Keep is the co-op gameplay present with each player controlling one of the two partners. Wyv and Keep can be used individually to help navigate the environment as a sort of box to be jumped off of or to keep the actual boxes within the accessible area. Tackling puzzles on your own can become frustrating when you get stuck but playing with a friend alleviates the frustration and spurs you to continue on your adventure.
Wyv and Keep is a great puzzle game to tackle with a buddy and the effort put forth by the developer is readily apparent. Though you may not be inclined to finish the game all the way through, you’ll definitely have fun adventuring with Wyv and Keep along the way.
[+Endearing protagonists][+local and online co-op][+challenging puzzles][-repetitive puzzles][-overstays its welcome]