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Kwirk – Game Boy

Kwirk – Game Boy

kwirk coverPlatform: Nintendo Game Boy

Developer: Atlus

Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment

Release Date (NA): March 1990

Genre: Puzzle, Maze

Nerd Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Reviewed by NerdBerry

Kwirk is easily a misunderstood and unknown little tomato. While exploring the subterranean world below their city, Kwirk’s main squeeze, Tammy, gets lost! It’s up to Kwirk and his friends to traverse the wild labyrinthine world of which he is so unfamiliar. This is the premise of the game. I don’t know why, but I kinda like it. It’s fun! I wish the Game Boy was capable of handling an in-depth depiction of this introductory story, but we are left wishing and wanting instead. It’s okay though. Perhaps the gameplay can make up for it.

There are three game modes to play in Kwirk: Going up? Heading Out? And Versus. There are different rules one has to follow when kwirk - backplaying each mode, but the basic premise is to get from your starting point at one end of the room to the staircase at the other end, spinning blocks, pushing blocks, and filling holes with blocks of all different shapes and sizes until you’re there. No matter which game mode you choose, there are 3 difficulty settings: Easy, Average, or Hard. Once you have selected your difficulty, you will have to select between a Diagonal display and a Bird’s Eye display. Diagonal is semi-3D except there are shadows to help detail the third dimension. Bird’s Eye is an aerial 2D view with no 3D qualities. I mostly prefer the 3D in some stages, but the 2D is really great as the 3D shadows can sometimes be hard to make out and it’s often tough to tell what is a hole and what is a shadow.

Going Up?

The “going up?” mode reminds me a lot of the classic NES puzzle game LOLO. You have to complete each level (remember, you are tasked with getting from the start to the finish) and that’s the only objective. There is no other objective. They keep track of how many steps it takes to get from start to finish, as well as how long. These are entirely pointless statistics in this mode and you’ll never even give a shit about doing it in fewer steps because you’ll never be able to brag about it to anyone. “HEY! I DID LEVEL 9 IN ONLY 159 STEPS! SUCK ON THAT!” There are 10 floors for each difficulty, starting at easy and ending at hard, resulting in 30 total floors. Scoring is so antiquated in 2013.

kwirk 1

3D mode: Notice the shadows look like holes?

“Going up?” is the main story mode in which Kwirk is attempting to rescue his fly-girlie-girl from the crazy maze. Tammy shows you your score between each floor and upon completion of all 30 levels the 2 of them are reunited! Other than that, she’s pretty much not a factor. Like I mentioned earlier, there are no cut-scenes or cinematography to help advance the story or show the progression. It’s just you and the maze.

Heading Out?

The “Heading Out?” mode follows a point-based structure in which all those “useless” stats I mentioned in “Going Out?” are actually put to good use (sort of). There are 99 rooms to complete, and you are given 2,000 bonus points at the start, and it decreases with each step you take and with each second that passes. You don’t have to complete them in any particular order, but you DO have to complete them all to “win.”  I’ve never completed this mode, or any mode. It’s hard as shit. I think the best I’ve ever done is something like, 35 floors… I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was getting infuriated with the game!

VS Mode

The VS mode uses the video link adapter, which is pretty awesome. Not enough people ever owned that thing. And you’d be hard-pressed to find someone with an adapter AND the same damn game! But anyway, “VS Mode” is a 2-player version of “Heading Out?” It’s simple, it’s fun, and it’s a decent way to get involved with your friends.



2D mode: Notice the holes and blocks are easily defined?

The puzzles are laid out with a multitude of random block formations; some have a pivot point that limits their movements. Stationary blocks or other blocks will often get in the way and limit your control of direction, forcing you to complete each level with very few alternative options. These non-pivoted blocks are tricky and warrant their own varying strategies because once pushed into a corner, it is completely stuck, never to be moved out again (hit the A-button and select “back” to go back one step or “redo” to start the level over).

Thinking and planning ahead might seem very important at first, and is actually useful in the first couple of levels. But once you get more involved in deeper levels, planning can take considerable time. Trial and error proves to be the best method for success! Every level, or room, is different and will most certainly start to piss you off. I mean, this game gets frustrating! You’ll see.

kwirk 3

Kwirk’s vegetable friends

One of my favorite features in Kwirk makes its introduction in Level 1, Floor 6 of the “Going Up?” mode. Kwirk’s sort of retarded-ass half brother or whatever shows up to aid us in our quest for Tammy’s slut-ass. His face looks like some sort of flame or something, but considering that Kwirk and Tammy are tomatoes, I’m guessing he’s some sort of vegetable or something. Anyway, with the select button, you can switch your control back and forth between Kwirk and DerpdyKwirk (the half-brother dude). This allows you to strategically position both of your guys into areas where one would not be enough. Now with the ability to control 2 of guys (separately, not simultaneously), you are given yet another tactical maneuver at your disposal.

Once you think you have the game figured out, the puzzles begin to increase in difficulty RAPIDLY! But hopefully by the time you reach each of these difficult rooms, you will have started to notice some of the patterns and consistencies used in the previous levels. While each level is technically very different, you’ll notice similarities, or if something looks easy, you should know that it’s not. You kind of start to comprehend exactly what the developers are up to with the devilish ways.

Kwirk starts off like a bag of fun and quickly turns into a chainmail bag of gold that you’ll never get into. The game is rarely that rewarding once you get past the first difficulty setting. While the puzzles aren’t impossible to complete, they are extremely challenging and lend a welcome test to the player. Trial and error eventually becomes the only form of success, with many a “redo” and “back” option being used. The feeling of accomplishment (if you accomplish anything) is unmatched because the levels are just so hard.

Press A and you'll see these options. REDO often.

Press A and you’ll see these options. REDO often.

Overall, Kwirk is a very thorough and intricate puzzle/maze game. It really tests the players’ problem solving abilities and will leave you stumped before too long. I wish the developers would have included a “hint” system after X amount of tries. I found myself completely stuck with seemingly no end in sight. Chip’s Challenge (Atari Lynx) provides a “hint” or “level skip” option after a large number of tries. It keeps the player from getting too upset and quitting the game. Some of the rooms will take 8-10 minutes to complete, which can start to wear the player down after a bit. There is little to no replay value once you have either completed the game or given up on it due to frustration. All of the challenges are gone. It’s still worth a pick-up or a play for any puzzle lover! Kwirk can be found on Amazon for less than $1 + $3.99 for shipping, so generally in the $5 range.

Nerd Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Reviewed by NerdBerry

Written by Nerdberry


What’s up yall? David “Nerdberry” here! I am the founder of Nerd Bacon and the current co-owner (and CEO) along with partner David “theWatchman!” I hail from North Carolina, hence my love for all things pork! Oh, you’re not familiar with NC? Well I’m not 100% sure, but I am pretty confident that NC and VA lead the nation in pork production. I could be wrong, but even if I am, I still love bacon!

Come enjoy some bacon and games with us yall.


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  1. Pingback: Handy Boy - Game Boy advancement - Nerd Bacon Reviews & News

  2. When I saw the cover to this my thoughts immediately went to “Cool Spot,” the 16bit games based off of the 7UP logo. I took the SNES version as far as I possibly could a few months back.


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