Vivienne (or Vava), is a well known optimist and purveyor of happiness. Who has a deep seeded love for gaming, pop culture, fantasy, horror and the Arts. They mostly survive off of chaos and the incessant call in their brain to create things.
Xbox One, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS5, Xbox Series X
August 31, 2021
Sold Out Games
Stonewheat & Sons
We live in an age of digital marvel where work and friends are only a zoom call or message away. But we still rely on our dedicated postal workers to deliver everyday basic needs, impulse buys and everything in-between. KeyWe let’s us take a step in the shoes (or claws) of post office workers in a colourful and playful setting.
Bungalow Basin is in dire need of some new and quick footed postal workers in it’s Telepost office. While accepting applicants of all sizes, they weren’t expecting ones so cute and small as our Kiwi bird protagonists! These two feathered pals must navigate mailrooms through their shifts at their new job at the post office. Which can be a little challenging when you’re just a ball of feathers. Each shift presents seasonal hazards that make every level as unpredictable as they are fun. Our kiwis Jeff and Debra will be working hard to deliver your mail, and win your hearts along the way.
KeyWe is a very sweet two player puzzle-platformer experience. The game feels like you really are working a shift at an outback post office, with a vibrant and joyful look and feel to gameplay that is inviting for all ages.
The levels or “shifts” as they are thematically called, are made up of 4 base games. There is the Telegraph Desk, where you will butt-slam keys on a typewriter to write peoples messages as they come to you. Then in the Transcription Room you will listen to a customer’s audio message and transcribe it into a letter. You will have to unscramble the cut-out words around you in order, then send the letter off on the Cassowary delivery team. The next game is the Shipping Floor. Here you will label incoming packages, crate them up and send them off in the right directions. Lastly, there is the Dropoff Depot where you will be working with Zoey, the resident Octopus. She only has so many arms, so you will be helping her sort through incoming mail and packages.
Each of these shifts are organised into a calendar. One day equals one shift in the 4 day week, where you will play in one of the mentioned rooms. They are all timed challenges, and once you successfully finish a shift it will unlock the next day’s shift. Progressing you through the weeks, months and seasons on the calendar. The 4 rooms are shuffled each new week so you will never know what challenge lies ahead.
To add to the mayhem, each week will throw new hazards into your work shifts, making them a little more challenging to complete. For example, Summer is Mayfly season. So you could find yourself in one shift in the transcription room having to fight off pesky Mayflies trying to pinch your words. Or even trying to pinch you! Bungalow Basin is a chaotic environment to work in, but far from being boring. With each week providing new challenges, each game feels different and engaging. Without ever getting too complicated.
The games are very fun to play through. Even though Jeff and Debra have no hands to help them in their tasks, they’re very resourceful in their own birdly ways. You must jump, peck, butt-slam and flap your way through your shifts together, and to victory. Communication is a must to make sure you finish your shifts in a timely manner, especially when things can change around you on a whim. You are able to team up with a friend online, or even in couch co-op, which I chose to do. It is a perfect little party game to have around.
The seasonal hazards will make things a little more difficult each time you play. At the start of each new day, there is the option for a quick tutorial. A very quick one even. You are given basic info and examples of any new mechanics coming into play, and then off you go. It’s quick and simple. Most importantly it’s very easy to understand. When you and your friend find that rhythm together in each level, it’s very rewarding.
For those who prefer to play alone, there is a single player option. You can choose to switch controls between Jeff and Debra. Or for those a little more coordinated, control both at once, for which controls are set up very intuitively for both keyboard and controller users. In single player it can be a little more taxing on the soul trying to control both Kiwis individually.
Personally, single player was not as fun of an experience as it was when I was playing with a friend. But it was still fun none the less. It just took a little more time than you’d expect to clear each game. The option to turn off the timer limits comes in handy here though. You may not earn your postage stamps this way if you’re not fast enough, but at least you get the satisfaction of ticking that day off on the calendar.
If you feel like changing up your shifts a little, you can check in to see if there are some overtime shifts available. It’s not just postal work you’ll be doing. There are always little odds and ends that need completing around the place. It’s also a great opportunity to earn some extra stamps. You can work in the Lunch Break room to help feed those hungry Cassowary. Maybe even train them on their delivery runs. You could even help test out some of the new bubble wrap, or have a snowball fight! There are plenty to choose from. Just remember to check in often, as some games may have the chance to earn double stamps.
The more stamps you can collect, the more cosmetics you can unlock and equip in the Wardrobe. The options available are very charming. Ranging from fur colours to backpacks, headgear, glasses and more. Including some extra Kiwi floof! Some things will only become available once some conditions have been completed. A select few are only unlockable for purchase by finding particular collectables hidden through the game.
The collectables were one thing I had trouble understanding. It wasn’t completely obvious to me at first that you had to solve a puzzle with that collectable AND finish the level in order to unlock it. But that was one of the only issues I had playing KeyWe. I’m so drawn in by KeyWe’s whimsical charms that finding fault with anything is hard to come by.
The rotation in challenges as the seasons go by keeps you on your toes at all times. While you can become familiar with the basics of how to finish each shift, those new variables will always have you scrambling for a foot hold. Nature can grow wild and steal keys from your telewriter. Sandstorms will bury you and your packages alive. Pesky Mayflies will actively try to make your life a living hell. Whatever it may be, no day is the same. Everything is aimed at keeping you actively engaged and coming back for more.
There is a lot of replayability with KeyWe. If you’re playing with different people often, no level is going to feel old or repetitive. The chance to unlock more content may keep you coming back, but so will the characters. The whole game is just so utterly charming and wholesome. KeyWe has given me a place to decompress from the stresses of life and have some fun with good friends. An experience like that is worth praising.
KeyWe is a charming and loveable two player experience that will have you coming back for more. If the small Kiwi bird protagonists don’t already have you sold, then the chaotic puzzle platforming levels will. It’s a postal post-office adventure worth taking along with a friend. You can also choose to play it alone, but two player is where it shines the most. With very little to complain about, KeyWe is a fun and joyful title worth your attention.