Why games are not just for ‘fun’ ? Showcase your intelligence & design skills with Kinetikos

When tired and stressed from studying, what’s your go-to way of relaxation? A good book? Netflix? Belting out songs at the top of your lungs at a karaoke outlet? Or time on your favourite game?

Can’t decide? Same here, pal.
Can’t decide? Same here, pal.

If your answers include the last (gaming), Digital Senior recommends an unexpected gem that we’ve discovered recently: Kinetikos. Available for mobile for Android and Apple, Kinetikos is the brainchild of …wait for it… the SUTD Game Lab and SUTD’s Office of Marketing and Communications. Say what??

(For those not in the know, the SUTD Game Lab, founded in October 2012, actually has an interesting game, One Upon Light, available on Steam and PS4!)

In the Kinetikos puzzle game, an experiment with gravity gone wrong causes the SUTD campus to be uprooted. It is then up to two SUTD students named Dan and Rinka, equipped with their anti-grav guns, to get through the floating campus and ‘save’ the day.

Curious – it’s the first time a local university has launched a game app – we gave Kinetikos a try and spoke to the team behind the game to learn more!

(photo credit: SUTD Game Lab)
(photo credit: SUTD Game Lab)

Bright, fun graphics – with a hint of challenge

Players have to clear stages of varying difficulties and in the process, are taken on a virtual tour of ‘SUTD’. The game’s graphics, which are cheerful and adorable, reminded us a little of Minecraft. One possible inspiration, maybe?

As players traverse the levels, they wander through the SUTD’s facilities and landmarks such as the cohort classrooms and the antique Chinese pavilion that was donated by Jackie Chan.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the puzzles are easy! Unless you’re a regular puzzle player, you will be made to exercise your brain quite a bit. Making more moves will reduce your score, the highest being three stars.

Harder levels add tougher obstacles, such as lasers that block you from certain paths until you access and hit its switch.

It must be mentioned that it took repeated tries – and much face-palming on her wrong moves – for this writer to even clear level 8. Obviously, this meant getting only one star. (This would happen not too far off in the future at level 11.)

Pull/push obstacles aside with the help of the anti-grav gun! This level features SUTD’s cohort classroom Later levels feature mirrors and lasers. (image credit: SUTD Game Lab)
Pull/push obstacles aside with the help of the anti-grav gun! This level features SUTD’s cohort classroom Later levels feature mirrors and lasers. (image credit: SUTD Game Lab)

The amount of detail in Kinetikos is also pretty impressive.

Many of the objects in-game, including the pillars and benches, are actually modelled after their real-life counterparts! Digital Senior’s trip down to SUTD to speak to the minds behind the game, ended up becoming an unexpected Easter egg hunt at the same time.

Every time something familiar was spotted, the metaphorical light bulb went off –  “OHSOTHISISREAL??”. So did the phone camera!

Even the tiniest detail was replicated in game! According to the game lab, this was a product of multiple site visits and recces to decide what could be included – and how. To achieve all this, it took the team 5 months of hard work from ideation to completion
Even the tiniest detail was replicated in game! According to the game lab, this was a product of multiple site visits and recces to decide what could be included – and how. To achieve all this, it took the team 5 months of hard work from ideation to completion
The Pavilion of Kindred Spirits or Zhi Ying Ge (知音阁) is one of four antique structures from the Qing and Ming dynasty donated by Jackie Chan. The pavilion is located between the hostels and academic buildings within SUTD campus.
The Pavilion of Kindred Spirits or Zhi Ying Ge (知音阁) is one of four antique structures from the Qing and Ming dynasty donated by Jackie Chan. The pavilion is located between the hostels and academic buildings within SUTD campus.
 Did you know? While SUTD doesn’t have technology such as anti-grav guns or lasers on campus, its students do work on a huge number of innovative projects and prototypes throughout their studies. Many of these are turned into reality!

 High replay value

The game doesn’t end after you’ve cleared all the levels, either. In true SUTD spirit (A Better World by Design), the game also features a level builder where you can design your own. To create a successful level involves a lot of trial and error – a tiny taste of, we imagine, what you’d experience when doing projects at SUTD.

Our quick attempt (which worked). Design as many levels as you wish and challenge your friends to the hardest ones!
Our quick attempt (which worked). Design as many levels as you wish and challenge your friends to the hardest ones! 
Preview mode. Wonder what my sprite’s looking at?
Preview mode. Wonder what my sprite’s looking at?

Our verdict

Kinetikos was designed to be accessible to players of all ages, and the game’s simple controls reflect this. We must say that it was a fun and light-hearted escape from work that also gave us a better understanding about SUTD in the process – without detracting from the enjoyment of the game.

We do feel, however, that the addition of a simple hint system would help make it even more enjoyable for the casual gamers out there. Otherwise, the Digital Senior team thinks that Kinetikos is a solid game that’s definitely worth a play through! When in need of a game to destress, why not give it a try?

If the game has piqued your interest…

Digital Senior has been told that players stand to redeem exclusive game merch at SUTD’s upcoming open house, if they’ve successfully cleared certain levels. You can also challenge the game developers with your own levels! Who will emerge triumphant?

activity

 Did you know? SUTD has over 90 co-curricular activity (which they call Fifth Row) clubs! That’s a huge amount for such a young university. Pick up interesting facts like this from the loading screens in-game!

 Only one will be left standing… Kidding, but you’ll win merch, which isn’t a bad deal

Also, explore the campus and see the game’s art “come to life” for yourself, while experiencing a snippet of the school’s vibrant student life through their student club performance showcases. Hear from industry leaders and alumni after getting some churros, and meander into Phosphene by Praxis+, the gorgeous light tunnel installation that had everyone enchanted during last year’s Singapore Night Festival!

Don’t worry, the campus won’t be floating…or will it?

Check out

Check out Kinetikos for free (Apple | Android) and let us know what you think!

 

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