You might think that 2010 was the year of the platformer, but here we are in 2011, and the damn things are still oozing out of people's brains and onto the Internet. It's not a bad thing, by any means, but we're pretty certain critical mass was reached late last year, meaning everything from here on out will hopefully be a return to the experimental roots. Case in point: K.O.L.M.
The first thing you'll notice when booting up K.O.L.M. is its distinct and impressive visuals. A series of filters running throughout makes it seem as though you're viewing the game through a closed-circuit camera system. It works surprisingly well and looks fantastic doing it.
For better or worse, it's a platforming game that tasks you to run around and explore things to find power-ups that allow you to get into new areas. At this point, the Metroidvania style of play is mostly just an excuse for game designers to cut their chops on level design, experiment with new techniques and try out new mechanics. It's not going to blow your mind, but it works well enough.
There is also a story going on beneath all that, with some weird fratricidal undertones. The premise is that you're a little robot whose mother wakes you up, but most of your parts are missing. Your mom's not particularly nice, either: Every time you try to impress her, she just says something along the lines of, "You're okay, but you'll be better when you have all your parts." What the hell ever happened to "I love you no matter what?"
The whole experience combines in a dreamlike way that takes the exploration and experiential parts of Metroidvania and runs with them, leaving behind any semblance of difficulty or precision. Dying doesn't even end up being much of a bother.
K.O.L.M. is a lot like other games, but that's not entirely a bad thing. It works well here and provides a great distraction.