A game for the littlest of gamers. The animals are sad and need some cheering up. Here comes Kissy Poo bringing happiness and cheer. With a lot of love and the help of some little hands, help Kissy Poo fill the rainbow and enjoy a fun, dancy time with all the animal friends.
I just turned 34-years-old. I have no children. I bought Kissy Poo at launch. While the tired Internet meme might see me off on a date with Chris Hansen, there is a captivating and trippy quality here which reminds me of Teletubbies, another childrens show I enjoy watching here and there for the bright colors and surreal atmosphere. Designed as a game for very young kids, Programmer Andy Dunn and developer George Clingermans Kissy Poo is very likely too simple and clean to appeal to older kids and adults, but its a nice bit of interactive entertainment with which to kill a few minutes, moreso I suspect for the intended audience.
Kissy Poo is a big-eyed purple ball with a bow on her head-body-thing which moves about the screen kissing sad animals to make them happy. The player uses the analog stick to guide her toward the animals which pop onto and bounce around the screen, changing from grayscale to color once Kissy Poo makes contact with them along with a kiss sound effect. Each kissed animal fills a rainbow meter, and when the rainbow is complete, the game triggers “Dance Time!” which plays a short vocal song while the animals “dance.” Clingermans is a rather poor singer, yet his monotone delivery is oddly catching. “Do a little dance, cause its dancing time. Do a little dance, cause its dancing time.” In fact, it was his low key hypnotic delivery which possessed me to buy the game in the first place as the “Dance Time!” song got stuck in my head in the worst way possible like a catchy commercial jingle thats impossible to shake off and just needs to run its course.
Once the brief dancing intermission ends, the game moves on to another kissing event and repeats ad infinitum. The only escape is to hold down the start button for five seconds. In the meantime, the repetition can be broken up by flipping the games rules and avoiding the animals for as long as possible. This would be a neat, almost shooter-like distraction except that the player may get annoyed with how the animals can appear anywhere on screen, even right on Kissy Poo herself, killing any real challenge and fun to be had there (the game tracks the “Keep Away” record, but it does not carry over from game to game). Kissy Poo does not require buttons to play – in fact, theres no real need to move the on-screen character at all to accomplish the games goal – but kids may enjoy the silly sound effects and baby noises heard when the controller buttons are pressed. Kissy Poo can interact with the background images somewhat by pressing the buttons as well, but these little visual touches tend to get washed away by all of the on-screen clutter and lack of recognition on the players part that he or she is affecting the screen with the controller.
I like how vibrant the display is in Kissy Poo, but the stiff, Flash game appearance makes it look cheap. Details such the sparkles which trail from Kissy Poos backside, falling stars at night, and the whale spewing hearts from its blowhole when interacted with indicate a fair level of effort which went into creating a solid product, but the barebones design and flat look diminish such attention to detail. While the babies the game is targeted at will surely be satisfied with the bright flashing colors and all of the repetitive shaking and bopping on-screen, those looking for more substance, even in a game for toddlers, may be disappointed. Parents may put Kissy Poo under the same microscope as Teletubbies has been scrutinized under, drawing criticism for being a shallow experience which fails to provide sufficient interactivity for a developing child. Considering that Kissy Poo more or less plays itself, the level of braindead entertainment offered here could be something parents would want to avoid fostering upon their child. That said, were talking about an audience which would rather play with the box rather than the toy inside, and the game caters to this demographic with no greater aspirations than offering a bit of sugary video game entertainment for those still in diapers. It would seem that Kissy Poo was designed to be a babysitter given its neverending gameplay and lack of meaningful structure, something along with a parent could plop a baby in front of a TV and go about his or her business without having to focus on occupying the child in question.
Kissy Poo is a cute diversion, and at just 80 points it is best to be viewed as a digital kiddie snack. Willing parents looking to shove a controller in their babies hands to amuse them will enjoy the low cost joy of watching their infants experience babys first video game, and Im sure there is some perceived merit in assisting with the develop of recognition and other cognitive abilities to help children level up into full blown kids. Kissy Poo is a cute if shallow game, and whether or not it is worth the admission fee will depend on the age of the of child, possible parenting beliefs in whats best for a growing baby, or if the buyer is an easily amused adult still dazzled by shiny colors.