AKITC is a tile-based puzzle game. Its puzzles are built around sliding block elements and visual cues.
Within the title is a hint as to how the game's story is structured. Kishōtenketsu is a word used to describe the structure of classic Chinese, Korean and Japanese narratives. The phrase is made of four parts each describing a specific story moment:
- Ki: an introduction
- Shō: the development
- Ten: a twist or complication
- Ketsu: conclusion
On the creator's site, they explain that they intended to use the introduction as a tutorial and the twist as a way to introduce a new method of using a previous mechanic.
The controls for the game are simple: arrows keys to move,
z to undo your movements and
r to restart the current chapter. I've previously played sliding puzzle games without an undo feature which has driven me crazy. The only option would be to restart, jumping you back to the beginning of whatever section you were on, forgetting the previous incorrect movements you made ultimately leading you to making them again.
The game uses very simple designed tiles; very similar looking to early gameboy games such as Zelda and Final Fantasy. The game uses a limited selection of only three colours for its entire game. #D5BBE4 as the floor or object highlight, #68A587 to represent greenery and #0F3777 for the object form.
There is no background music as you explore the world which for a change is quite nice. The silence makes it a lot easier to think and solve some of the puzzles. There are however sound effects. A deep fuzz as you move items; a moderate wooden knock as you bump into a tree; a light tinkle as you complete a chapter.
Moving around the map is very quick and easy. Quite a few of the areas allow you to peek into others revealing later potential puzzles. This also gives you a sense of direction when trying to find the next puzzle to solve. There are four main open areas you can instantly explore with the last area containing your target, your home.
The game is split into five parts. First being the tutorial puzzle, three more introducing and expanding on your previous experiences and the last using everything you know to get home. This puzzle methodology is very similar to Jon Blow's The Witness.
In the last area is a large door, split into four chunks blocking your path to your home. This is used as a progress indicator throughout the game with a chunk disappearing every time you complete a chapter. This is handy when you're hunting around for the last puzzle, filled with self-doubt as to whether if there really is one more.
Whilst completing two of the chapters, I had moments of excitement as I discovered where I'm suppose to go next. One of them even politely displays some clues if you accidentally stumble (as I did it) upon the area.