With a loose backdrop of Aztec lore, Ketzal’s Corridors is really just a game of human tetris with… actual tetris blocks. Someone realized at some point that while it’s hilarious to watch Japanese game show contestants try to put on their best yoga moves to fit themselves through oddly cut shapes in walls, the idea had potential for a videogame.
The game’s simple. You manipulate the shape of your playable character, who’s some sort of anthropomorphic Aztec guardian block… thing, until he’s able to fit through the shape of the wall that your character is flying towards. The d-pad moves your guardian around the screen and the A, B, X, Y buttons rotate him. It’s up to you to finagle your way into every corner as he flies through each level. Hearts are placed at every hole for you to collect.
The true challenge to Ketzal’s Corridors is to keep back your inner OCD completionist. Depending on your score at the end of the level, calculated by the amount of time remainging (did I mention that you’re timed?), the number of hearts you collected, and the combos you performed, you’ll receive a bronze, a silver, or a gold medal.
During the early quest stages, getting the gold is a fairly easy task. However, as you progress, the silver becomes a to-do as the walls begin having multiple holes. While that might seem like more opportunities to get through and complete the level, it’s a nightmare to try and complete “tricks.” This mechanic adds a certain dimension of difficulty to the game. Instead of just making your way through every wall, you have to turn your guardian to fit into every nook and cranny of each hole to achieve a better score. It’s not really a big deal if you don’t mind getting a few bronzes here and there. It’s an absolute nightmare for folks who cringe at the sight of anything but gold, though.
Gathering all the hearts and medals won’t do anything for you. You can move on through the story as long as you pass the level. However, Ketzal’s Corridors contains side quests you can unlock with higher scores. This in turns allows you to traverse more stages to gather additional hearts and medals for an even higher score. You can quickly see how this situation would make someone who wants to finish everything with a gold want to break down crying.
The side quests that you can unlock in Ketzal’s Corridors range from endless levels that increase in difficulty as you traverse them, to timed tower levels that you attempt to make your way up by warping into shapes dictated by the structure. In total, Ketzal’s Corridors runs only a few hours if you decide to only play through the main story mode. However, if you decide to branch out into the side quests, Ketzal’s Corridors can run you a good 20 hours, especially if you have horrible perception of 3D space (like me).
While most of the main story is newbie-friendly enough so that every level takes at most a few runs to get through, the side quests get laughably difficult. Some of them feature different guardians than the three used in the main story line. Most memorably, one of them came in a H-shape and was made up of so many blocks that I failed the side quest he was involved in within a few walls.
If you do grow bored of playing your puzzle game in the corner by yourself, you can get a friend to join you. Ketzal’s Corridor features two co-op options, one local play and one same-screen option. Unfortunately, I don’t have many friends who own a 3DS and none that own Ketzal’s Corridors, so I wasn’t able to try out the local play mode to see how it worked. I did manage to string a friend into playing Ketzal’s Corridors same-screen mode with me. It’s something of a disappointment; although I’m not sure where else the developers could have taken it. You and your friend take either the d-pad or the face buttons and face off on a tower of different shapes to warp into. These matches are relatively short and you’ll quickly lose interest.
I can’t really say that I have any complaints for Ketzal’s Corridors. The game’s levels are all well-paced. Key Factory has really managed to develop a game that’s both noob and pro friendly, without sacrificing any elements that would pander to either side. The main story quest is easy enough for someone just seeking a time diversion to play through. Those who want a more hardcore experience can try their hand at grabbing up gold medals in the side quests. Considering the slim pickings of good things that you can find on the eShop, Ketzal’s Corridor is a gem for puzzle enthusiasts. While it isn’t terribly original, the game’s simple and fun. What more could you ask of from a downloadable game?
Here’s the rundown:
+ Simple, wholesome, good ol’ family fun
+ For noobs and pros alike
+ $6.99? I don’t mind if I do…
– My god, I think the completionist in me died a little bit because I’m not good enough to get the gold for some levels
– Oh, hmm… yes. What a terribly original concept…
– It’s a game for the 3DS? Why’s the 3D necessary again?
8 and 8.5 represent a game that is a good experience overall. While there may be some issues that prevent it from being fantastic, these scores are for games that you feel would easily be worth a purchase.
Ketzal’s Corridors was developed by Keys Factory and published by Nintendo. It was released on the Nintendo eShop on April 12, 2012 in North America for $6.99.