Few games will likely ever find a better source material to base itself on than with Kim. The game is based on a novel of the same name written by Rudyard Kipling, which is widely considered to be his greatest work. In it we should get a detailed look at the people, culture, and religions of late 19th century British ruled India. The setting alone is enough to pique most people’s interest I would assume, regardless of the knowledge that it comes from Kipling.
Not only does Kim promise an interesting setting, it promises some unique gameplay too. Reading and looking through, much of it should seem like the familiar adventure gameplay we’re all used to, with some line of sight stealth and simple-looking real time combat in the vein of a toned-down version of Hotline Miami added for good measure.
You play as street urchin Kimball O’hara surviving on the streets of Lahore. With procedural maps and plenty of choices to be made, each playthrough of Kim promises to be an unique affair. So rather than being a 1-1 copy of Kipling’s Kim, the game is using the characters and setting of the novel to allow players to explore the world in their own way.
There seem to be two different playstyles: you could either go down the violent route, relying on combat to survive, or you could try the route that will gain you the most merit. In each case there will be plenty of unique characters to interact with, speak to, and do tasks for—what that ends in being up to you. First and foremost, however, Kim is an exploration focused RPG of which the bulk of gameplay will take place in the various branching conversations and survival systems. Violence and/or stealing are optional routes to take.
Neither the Greenlight page or Kickstarter page go too deeply into the mechanics, but the above results page seem to imply quite a bit being packed into the details of Kim. In that we see the merit score, your character’s stats, and what certain character’s opinions of you ended up being. There also some other indicators I’m not sure of yet.
As you may have surmised from the results screen, each playthrough is limited. In this case, you have until turns 18, the period where Kipling’s book ends. How you spend that time, making choices, combat, etc, all take up some time so each playthrough will be limited to a certain amount of stuff you can get in.
In regards to combat, Kim can’t die necessarily. Interestingly, Kim takes the route of making time itself an important resource. So when Kim’s health reaches zero, he becomes seriously injured, which then takes up a certain chunk of time.
Time is very important so having your health reach zero is a significant penalty. It is over time in your play through where you’ll develop relationships with various characters and develop things like Kim’s stats—each tie into various systems in the game—all of which will end up contributing to your score.
All in all, Kim certainly seems like a passion project (just take a look at the detailed mechanics, art style, and soundtrack) that has an incredible basis for success. The opportunity for some cool moments and conversations, along with the chance to learn something interesting about a culture many in the West know nothing about make Kim something unique in the gaming world.
If what’s above has interested you at all, check out (and vote for if you think Kim deserves it) the game on Greenlight. Kim also happens to be running a Kickstarter campaign at the moment, so if you find yourself really sold, you have the ability to contribute if you’d like.
Kim expects to be in Early Access in March of 2016.
What do you think of Kim? What other games on Greenlight right now deserve attention?