This is one co-op party game that has ruffled up our feathers.
The release of Overcooked and the Nintendo Switch really kickstarted a resurgence for co-op party games in the latter part of the last decade. The genre is now bursting with choice and even over the last few months, we have received several new entries such as Very Very Valet, Shakes on a Plane, and KeyWe. The latter of these titles tasks you with running a post office, whilst playing as a pair of kiwis known as Jeff and Debra. It strives to capture the tense and chaotic nature of the titles I've previously mentioned, but sadly, the execution isn't the smoothest especially when played solo.
In KeyWe there are essentially only four mini-games within its core mode that are mixed up with different hazards as you progress. The first of these sees you type out telegrams by hopping on the typewriters around you and inputting the correct letters. The second takes place in the transcription room, and here you need to listen to an audiotape and collect the right shreds of paper that are scattered around you before combining them into a message. The third of these see you assembling packages for delivery and the final one is a rush to file everything correctly in the drop-off depot.
As you only have a fleeting amount of time, teamwork and coordination are essential, and there are plenty of pitfalls that you can fall into if you don't pay attention. As mentioned, things get quickly more challenging as you'll have to combat obstacles later on such as tornados that will blow shreds of paper away and vines that can swallow up you and your partner whole. There's certainly fun to be had here with a friend, but even with these hazards, the mini-games quickly start to feel repetitive and I couldn't help but crave more.
Beyond these mini-games, there are also a handful of "overtime shifts" that you can unlock and several of these involve tasks unrelated to sorting post. These modes I actually found to enjoy more than the ones included in the main work schedule, which is strange considering that these are optional and the others are compulsory for making progress. One of my favourites is a rhythm game where you have to peck drums and blow trumpets in time with the music and another sees you feed the hungry and impatient cassowary workers.
Completing mini-games rewards you with a score of either bronze, silver, or gold and you'll receive a set amount of stamps too that you can spend on cosmetics. The selection of items here is vast with you being able to change the fur colour, hairstyle, and outfits of your feathered friends. This isn't all that you can spend your stamps on, as you can also purchase hints on where you can find certain special collectibles. These collectibles can then be displayed in your kiwi's own personal section of the post office and they are a fun incentive to return back to levels.
Obviously, KeyWe is more geared towards playing with a friend, but the option is also there to play solo. This I would absolutely advise against as it can feel awfully tedious to control both birds at once and you lack that hilarious back and forth that you'd have with a co-op partner. When playing alone you can push the L and R buttons (on Switch) to move between both birds and holding them together allows you to control them at the same time. Having to keep switching between characters just destroys any type of flow and you'll often find that the bird you are not controlling has been carried off by a bug or swallowed by a vine whilst you weren't looking.
On top of single-player being a chore to play through, I also encountered several bugs and these even caused me to abandon streaming the game. When playing one of the stages the tutorial just didn't appear even after resetting the software, so I was left clueless as to what to do. I also encountered a glitch where one of my kiwis got stuck on a crane and another technical issue prevented me from beating a level despite fulfilling the right criteria. I should note though that I only played the game on Nintendo Switch, so I'm unaware if these issues are the same across other platforms.
With there being so many quality co-op party experiences on the market, it makes it really tough to recommend KeyWe. Its mini-games can be fun in short bursts with friends, but they quickly feel repetitive and are nearly downright unplayable when solo. I also encountered a fair amount of bugs when playing the game on Nintendo Switch that led to further unnecessary frustration. Perhaps you could take a punt on if it gets discounted in the future and you're in the mood for some co-op fun, but otherwise, I'd advise you to steer clear.
5 / 10
It can be fun in short bursts with friends, there's a variety of cosmetic options.
It contains several bugs, its impossible to play solo, the selection of mini-games is lacking.