PEGBRJE: Kingdom Ka
Sometimes, less is more. Sometimes there is no answer.
Kingdom Ka is a point and click surrealist narrative made by carrotcake, pseudonym of a solo dev from England that works on telling tales through intriguing means. Players follow the story of a small character as they attempt to enter the Kingdom Ka, meeting curious individuals and finding petals in order to grant themselves access. The question is, what exactly are they actually wanting, and what is really going on?
Players start their adventure not as the character, but as nothingness staring at a pair of blinking eyes being asked a series of questions. They continually ask metaphysical questions, curiously undermining and pondering each answer given. It’s reminiscent of a horror movie AI, one attempting to learn what a human is yet not seeing much difference between themselves and organics. As the questioning continues, the answer possibilities slowly seem to dwindle away, with the player given fewer options to retort and the eyes know it; they simply mention how the answers are disappearing, and suddenly the eyes are gone.
What happens next is a series of interactions with various colourful and bizarre characters that our little protagonist must converse. Each one poses a metaphysical and perplexing dilemma, a question that forces one to think in a possibility that may not be native to their own. This is the basis for finding the petals of this world, by solving these ‘puzzles’ that each character creates for the player. They don’t attempt to trick the player, rather simply pose a problem and see what the player’s solution or own issue may be. There’s one that stuck out to me, where three individuals are standing near a massive buddha head. The first claims they are examining the blowhole of a beached blue whale, for all they can see is the mouth that looks like one. The second is marveling over the new cave structure they found, for all they can see is the ear canal. The third, who is a distance away, is certain that the other two are ridiculous, because it is obviously an elephant.
Kingdom Ka is a tale of perspectives and understanding of stories that share them. It doesn’t claim to have or know any of the answers to these philosophical questions, and even states at the end that the player’s journey most likely is filled with many missed opportunities and understandings. It’s a combination of everything that makes these mind bending ideas and tales great from its use of art to the fantastic cello work by Nerio Olmedillo. There’s an atmosphere and awareness created that there cannot be a correct answers to these problems, for if there was we’d never have bothered asking them continuously over the millenniums that we’ve existed. Kingdom Ka wants you as the player to figure these out for yourself, and answer these bizarre creatures in turn.
If you enjoy surrealism with a healthy dose of philosophical mind benders, Kingdom Ka is a 60 minute tale that you will definitely want to try out. You cannot be wrong, so therefore you cannot go wrong.
This is only one game for a few reasons. The big one was realizing that the next game in the bundle is a massive collection of mini titles that would never fit. The small one is I’m trying to game jam right now for GGJ.
I’ll see you for that bundled title on Monday.