At first glance, it's easy to see the appeal behind Vellum Interactive's iOS and Android puzzle platformer, Telekinesis Kyle. The game channels Psychonauts and Portal while working its own story that revolves around an innocent kid with the power of telekinesis - being able to move objects with his mind. His parents drop him off at a special laboratory where he can hone in his special powers - though he isn't quite sure of the doctor's motives. Done right, we could've easily seen this concept take off. Unfortunately, it comes up short.
In too many instances, you see where the developer cut corners to rush the game to market. A frustrating puzzle with few hints here, a glitch that sends a necessary crate disappearing through a wall there. Vellum didn't even bother to remove the "Development Build" text from the screen - which is never good for a final release.
In addition, there's little appeal to the game's unfinished art style. Although the doctor has a cool appearance, Kyle doesn't stand alongside other geek heroes, such as Psychonauts' Raz. He just looks like a plain, nerdy kid, without any sort of emotion or personality.
His voice is equally bad. Go near a ledge and he'll repeat the same lines, such as "Push me all you want. I'm not going." Some smarmy responses would've worked better - especially with the doctor's inspired dialogue. With some effort, their banter could've been fun. Instead, it's non-existent.
Kyle's puzzles don't fare much better. You have the option of zooming in and out to see where everything is - including hidden switch panels that are otherwise out of view - but these average brain teasers fail to thrill; too much switch flipping. Not only that, but you'll get through them all in a couple hours, with little reason to return.
As for the gameplay, it's sloppy. Touchscreen presses don't react properly, either resulting in dropped objects or strange disappearances through walls, which force you to start over. You can switch to virtual stick controls, but the accuracy is even worse, especially when it comes to lifting things.
The idea of a telekinesis meter at the bottom of the screen is smart, but it's a limitation, particularly if Kyle tries to lift too much at once. If Vellum had introduced some kind of level-up system to make him stronger over the course of the game, we could've gotten somewhere.
While Vellum Interactive deserves credit for a good idea, Telekinesis Kyle suffers from below-average execution and lack of replay value. You'll get everything you need to know out of this game in the first seven levels. If you use your mind properly, that is.
What's Hot:Neat concept, the doctor has great dialogue.
What's Not:Gameplay feels inaccurate and clunky, too short even if you buy the additional levels for two bucks, some puzzles frustrate and offer few hints, Kyle is too whiny for his own good, "Development Build" might explain the glitches and unfinished visual style, you have to pay two bucks for "the whole story."