The Kiwi's Tale is an independent platform game inspired by the classic 80s Taito arcade 'New Zealand Story'. In this homage, alien sheep have kidnapped all of your Kiwi friends (did I mention you play a Kiwi?), and you have to jump and shoot your way through New Zealand rescuing them.
The controls are simple, left, right, jump and shoot, and the graphics are simple, but well polished. You can define the keyboard controls any way you like in options, and the game automatically saves your progress, although once you're out of lives, you have to start the level again from the beginning.
The major technological difference with an 80s game you'll notice it the sound. The music is pleasant and has a live instrument feel, and the sound effects are really fun, with excellent sheep-firing-bazooka effects and exploding emu sounds!
In terms of difficulty, our Kiwi hero dies at the slightest touch of an enemy, projectile or obstacle, but it's not impossibly hard and doesn't feel unfair. There's a gentle learning curve over the first couple of levels. The enemies are nicely varied with different attacks, and are often quite amusing, and the level design is good overall.
You'll meet bazooka wielding sheep, sheep flying helicopters, emus attacking in planes along the way, and there's a variety of transport available for the fragile Kiwi.
For any fans of traditional platformers like the early Mario titles, this freeware game is a treat, which will challenge your reflexes and amuse you.