Kava-what? Is it a Pacific island drink of shamans and storytellers? No, Kavalmaja is the latest game from the brilliant Tonypa. A departure from his usual explorations of the abstract, Kavalmaja is a tile-based, Zelda like exploration game, except you have a wacky, randomly generated name. Unlike Zelda, it strips away combat, re-emphasizing the flow of the maze.
Movement is simple and straightforward, just use the [arrow] keys to move around. You will, however, need to familiarize yourself with the symbolic language that Tony has created. Some highlights to get you started:
- The two-armed green block represents you, the player character.
- The green cross icons on the top-left represent your health.
- Red tiles will deduct one health if you intersect with it. Health recharges when you go to another screen.
- Striped blue tiles act like ice, causing you to slide until you hit a wall.
- Blue arrows will move you in the direction they point.
- Blue grids toggle switch effects.
- Blue concentric squares are teleporters that whisk you away to another area of the maze.
- Yellow diamonds are power-ups that you collect for points. You need 50 yellow diamonds to find the final teleporter that ends the game.
- There a few different types of door blocks, you will need to find special items to unlock them.
Analysis: This is a minimalist exercise in flow control; that classic, gem-like, diamondoid gameplay that fans of Metroid or Zelda-style games know and love. It's about having multiple paths and having to deduce which are passable and when the others are ripe for unraveling. The dungeon is a big puzzle that you're working toward a solution for, from the inside out. Expect nothing more and you'll be in bliss. The only knock against it is that some of the obstacle blocks look similar, but the more you play the more you become familiar with the language.
Spire in the matrix of Kavalmaja.