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E3 2011: Leedmees hands-on

E3 2011

My first game at the show today was a title called Leedmees, an XBLA game coming out this summer. I got to play through eight levels of the upcoming Kinect game and left Konami’s booth wanting more. The premise is simple – two portals exist on the screen, one red, one blue. Out of the blue portal appear Leedmees – think the Sackboy character from Little Big Planet without the sack texturing and you’re pretty close to a Leedmee. The goal is to lead them (get it?) from the blue portal to the red one by carrying them with your arms.

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It sounds simple, but as the levels progressed, I could see how the challenge could ramp up in the final release’s later stages. The first level started off easy – there was nothing dangerous in the level (except me). Your green avatar, looking a bit like the Jolly Green Giant, can destroy the Leedmees if they are punched or kicked too hard or crushed against a wall, so care must be taken. In the first stage, I simply had to crouch down, allow a Leedmee to climb onto my arms, and then bring them to the portal on the other side. If you raise your arms too fast you’ll fling them off. It took me a couple of tries, but I finally got it.

After that, I took on some more complicated levels. The next introduced a spike floor. Dropping the Leedmees kills them, so I had to be very careful as I ferried them across the gap. In another stage, ghosts appeared that I had to swat away, lest they turn me into a spirit that can’t interact with the Leedmees for a short period of time. In another, bouncing balls poured out of the ceiling, requiring that I bend my arms to protect the Leedmees from the falling, colored balls (shown above). I failed on that stage a couple of times before I was able to progress to the final levels of the demo.

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To further complicate things, you can also lead your Leedmees to stars that are scattered in hard to reach areas of the level. These put your Leedmees in more danger, but your ranking at the end of the stage will be higher depending on how many you collect. Leedmees is due out this summer and it seems promising. Very simple and approachable, it will offer a cooperative mode that unfortunately I didn’t get to check out. The game is definitely cute, but the diversity of challenges that were on display today hints that this is more to it than its look.

“Leedmees” is a working title and is subject to change.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003.

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