The key to a good local multiplayer game is simplicity. The easier it is to pick up and play, the better. Almost all local multiplayer games understand this, but some embody that quality better than others. Cosmic Kites from Fishmoose Interactive understands it well. A multiplayer take on Snake, Cosmic Kites takes a simple concept and fleshes it out to its fullest, resulting in a great easy to pick up multiplayer game.
In Cosmic Kites, you and up to three other players take control of spirits that take the form of animals like birds, warthogs, squids, and even dragons, and try to vanquish one another by trapping them within each other’s tails. Power-ups that make your tail longer or allow you to fire orbs of energy appear periodically, as do obstacles like vines that move across the entire screen. Their frequency is dependent on the mode you play. One makes power-ups drop constantly, while another turns the game into an obstacle course. You can also make your own custom modes as well, if that’s more your speed.
Each match doesn’t last long. Even with four of us in play, it didn’t take long for us to start eliminating one another. At first it simply due to pure clumsiness (we all ran into our own tails a few times), but soon enough, once we got the hang of things, games were ending fast due to how adept we’d become at blocking each other’s paths. Often that meant intercepting someone going for a power-up just before (or after, in some cases) they grabbed it. Other times it meant using the edges of the arena to get the drop on them. The teleport ability is extremely useful for surprise strikes. It’s an extremely simple game, mechanically, but there’s just enough depth to keep it interesting in the long haul.
Cosmic Kites can also be played solo, whether with bots or in the game’s single-player mode, both of which serving as fine alternatives if you can’t get a group together. The latter in particular is a test of survival. Enemies and obstacles slowly spawn in increasingly rapid succession until the space becomes a literal minefield. Longest I’ve lasted so far is a little under three minutes, which may not sound like a long time, but it definitely feels like it in the moment.
It’s a great little multiplayer game as well as a fun solo distraction. Still uncommon for local multiplayer games to have solid single-player modes, which only makes Cosmic Kites that much more appealing. Though there’s no doubt a plethora of local multiplayer games these days, Cosmic Kites is certainly worth your time.