Note: While Kwari has not been officially released in the US, it is available for download and play.
First and foremost, Kwari is free to download, but you have to pay for ammunition. And then again when you pick up weapons, drops and health. And again when you get shot. If you’re going to ask someone to continuously pay money to be able to play your game, you’re going to have to provide one hell of a decent shooter. And not, let’s say, something that looks and feels like a weak Quake II clone. Yeah, you read that right. Quake II.
It’s that horrible childhood feeling of the costume shop being out of Spider-Man outfits right before the big party, and your mum saying, “Don’t worry dear, I’ll sew one for you.” The whole thing reeks of “This is what those first-person shooters are like, right?” It’s a decade out of date, with horrible graphics, and remarkably tiresome to play.
This only gets worse as you watch your cash balance rapidly descend every time you pick up a new weapon, or walk over a health drop. It’s a real fight against your gaming instincts to avoid the many pickups in the levels, and a pain when you accidentally run over 17 of them in a row during combat. Like we did. All the time.
So the redeeming feature would be what’s at stake, right? The chance to make a fortune. You can make cash in Kwari by killing your opponents or by ending the round in possession of a pill: like a flag, but edible. Be excellent, and you could apparently make a packet. There are whopping prizes on offer in the realms of tens of thousands of dollars. The trouble is, unless you are really, really good and/or lucky, you won’t be making anything. This has to do with the unbalanced nature of the money movement. If you’re playing with ten other players, and they’re all firing at you, you’re going to be losing a lot more cash than you can gain by shooting one of them at a time. In three matches, we’d blown twenty bucks. It doesn’t feel fun.
It would make much more sense to adopt the approach of a sit-and-go poker game. You pay to enter a match, the top three players coming out with a win, the rest having committed how much they were prepared to lose at the start. The way it is now, get in a server with some decent players, and you could see your funds dribble away.
There’s a free version, but without the incentive of profit there’s no reason to put up with such a dated, remarkably clunky shooter. With only one game mode at launch, and so few playing, right now there isn’t much point in putting up with the commercial version, either.