KWAAN

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KWAAN on Steam

MSRP: $9.99

Platforms: Win, Mac

Release: 1/21/16


There are no words for how much I wanted to like KWAAN.  A non-combat MMO with a focus on creativity and cooperation? I didn’t even care about the graphics, and let me tell you, I am sick to death of pixel graphics.  I just wanted to get involved with a community of people who just wanted to improve the world by painting flowers.

Sadly, the reality was such a disappointment.

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KWAAN has the dubious honor of being the first game I’ve purchased on Steam that I’ve been so unhappy with that I’ve requested a refund (and I have bought a LOT of stuff on Steam). I’m not sure where the disconnect is, really.  The UI is less than helpful, the movement is some of the most irritating I’ve ever experienced (instead of jumping, you need to deploy a very touchy spider web thread and swing to reach higher areas), and the means of painting to improve the world is a color by number that you can’t get wrong.

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I think the nicest way I can describe the tutorial is to call it incomplete.  You’re told how to acquire the apple that you need, but not the leaf, and as I was already cheesed off about having to bumble around as if in an unresponsive platforming game, I didn’t want to explore anymore. I didn’t want to play anymore.

But I think the biggest flaw in KWAAN is this – it doesn’t have the player base to support the game it wants to be. The whole concept has the game balanced around groups of people working together to accomplish goals (with the penalty of a soft-world reset if they’re not met), and there’s just no one playing.  It’d be easy to blame it on a lack of target audience for a cooperative and pacifist multiplayer game – but I played Glitch when there were so many people clamoring to participate in projects that the game slowed to a crawl.

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KWAAN is a game that could stand to go back to beta. A graphical overhaul certainly wouldn’t make it worse, but remappable keys, a more accessible UI, and a more complete tutorial would go a long way to making this game attractive to new players. And it desperately needs new players. In it’s current state, I won’t be one of them – I lasted less than half an hour – and there’d have to be a whole lot of changes going on before I’d even give it a second glance again.

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