Kye is a real time puzzle game. Some puzzle games, like Sokoban, work around a very simple idea, an extremely limited set of objects and rules - Kye does not follow this approach, because it contains a variety of different object types and these interact in a variety of ways. It takes ideas from puzzle games like Sokoban and Crystal Mines, but the inclusion of active objects gives it a real-time component, and it can also produce arcade-game levels like Pac-Man. Anyone can create new levels for the game [ [ "Give Kye a try, say I!"] Review by ASchultz from 02/07/02 on GameFAQs] .

Kye was created by Colin Garbutt of Towednack and first released in 1992. Starting with version 2.0, the game became charity shareware – registration required a donation to Save the Children, and the donor received latest version and 20 additional levels in return. [ [] The differences between v1.2 and 2.0 are listed in the review on Classic DOS Games]

The Kye is also the object controlled by the player in the game, from which the game takes its name. This was the name of Colin's dog, according to the help file.


Version 1 of Kye was released in January 1992, and was widely distributed in the UK in collections of shareware games. This version contained all the main features of the game, including mouse control, real-time movement of objects, and the active monsters. It was possible to create your own levels, but there was no editor provided - the levels are text files, so can be edited with any text editor.

Version 2 was released in May 1992. People who registered version 1 got version 2, and a larger collection of levels. Version 2 included a WYSIWYG editor integrated into the game (although this editor could only edit one level at a time). It also added new objects which increased the scope of the game for arcade style puzzles - black holes, shooters and timer blocks.

Both of these versions are for Windows only, and are old 16-bit applications. They still run on a modern Windows system, but should be installed in a directory with a short (<=8 characters in the filenames) path, otherwise there will be problems opening levels.

The game

The player controls the Kye, either with the mouse or keyboard. The only action in the game is movement - Kye interacts with the game by pushing objects, pulling them, or consuming/collecting them (by stepping onto them). Each level is a single screen, of 30x20 squares, each of which can contain a single object. The objective in the game is to collect all the diamonds in each level. Levels are grouped into sets of levels, and later levels can only be reached by completing earlier ones.

The main objects are the Kye, diamonds, solid walls, soft blocks (which are consumed by walking through them), and solid, movable blocks (which can be pushed around). There are also sticky blocks, which in fact behave more like magnets, since they pull movable objects towards them (and can be pulled by the Kye, enabling it to pull as well as push). Combinations of these objects alone gives an entirely non-real-time puzzle, enabling puzzles like Sokoban to be constructed (although Kye lacks a fillable-hole object, it is possible to combine the sticky blocks with some traps to enable a Sokoban-like gameplay).

There are also real time moving objects - sliders and rounders. these have some similarity with falling-rocks puzzle games, but since in Kye they can go in any direction, and there are also turning blocks that can redirect a stream of sliders or rounders, it is possible to construct circular flows and periodic mechanisms. And the bouncers, which are the only non-player-controlled actor that can push other objects, allow mechanisms to be constructed.

There are also monsters: spikes, blobs, twisters, gnashers, and snakes. The Kye loses a life (it has 3 for each level) if it is caught by a monster; and the monsters move to catch the Kye. This gives the game its arcade element.

Version 2 added timer blocks (making it easy to add time-delay mechanisms to levels), black holes (which destroy objects that flow, wander or are pushed into them), and shooters (which create new sliders or rounders). These take Kye further from the puzzle game area where it started, and more into the arcade game genre.

More information

* [ Information on kye and the different kye versions]


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