Kao the Kangaroo
“Kao the Kangaroo is a enjoyable 3D platformer franchise revival with strong platforming and less-than-solid narrative.”
- Easy however enjoyable platforming
- Properly designed ranges
- Vibrant visuals
- Poor voice appearing and story
- No actual challenges
Tate Multimedia is giving a forgotten-turned-beloved platforming mascot a second probability with the rebooted Kao the Kangaroo. This new recreation, which shares a reputation with the franchise itself, reveals why now’s really the proper time to deliver Kao again. These days, there are a plethora of impartial 3D platformers that don’t have to fret about being drowned out by the large AAA platformers, like Kao was again when it first emerged.
Whereas Mario, Crash Bandicoot, Rayman, and Spyro the Dragon had been finally the platforming mascots that stood the take a look at of the time one of the best, they’re removed from the one memorable characters to headline 3D platforming video games. Common YouTube video and Twitter hashtags helped deliver this collection again, and the trouble from followers was principally value it. Devilishly easy however surprisingly memorable in most facets of its design, this basic Kao the Kangaroo is an fulfilling platforming romp regardless of some shortcomings.
It might be a straightforward platformer with poor voice appearing and a foul story, however Kao the Kangaroo delivers basically fulfilling gameplay in a vibrant world, displaying how even the much less well-remembered platformers from the style’s heyday have a greater probability at getting the love they deserve now than they did 20+ years in the past.
It’s about time
Through the late 90s and early 2000s specifically, many builders took cute animals, machines, or children and turned them into the star of an thrilling platformer for gamers of all ages. Kao the Kangaroo is considered one of these collection, with the primary three video games within the collection being enjoyable, if unambitious, platformers within the vein of video games like Crash Bandicoot and Rayman 2.
The rebooted Kao the Kangaroo feels so simple as basic 3D platformers from the N64, PlayStation, and Dreamcast period, however with fashionable visuals and design instinct. It’s a level-based platformer the place the participant’s main aim is to make their method to the tip of the stage whereas getting as many collectibles as doable. Just like the basic Kao video games, this reboot isn’t essentially the most unique idea from a gameplay standpoint however executes this tried and true thought effectively.
Kao the Kangaroo has a vibrant and joyous visible design. Whereas animations clearly aren’t as fluid as AAA video games like Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time or Ratchet & Clank: Rift Aside, Kao the Kangaroo’s visuals are nonetheless filled with appeal as Kao takes large strides as he walks and might nonetheless pull off a few of his unsettling visuals strikes — specifically extending his neck underwater or whereas hanging from nets.
The sport’s ranges are unfold throughout 4 hub worlds and match naturally into every space’s design and theme. Each stage feels distinct due to clear visible theming, distinct colour pallets, and distinctive enemies in every hub. Exploring the comparatively secure however jungle-filled Hopalloo Island feels a lot completely different than making my method via later ranges, like a spa resort positioned on the highest of an icy mountain overtaken by an evil pressure.
“Kao’s gameplay feels ripped proper out of the early 2000s in a great way.”
It won’t be AAA high quality, but it surely appears to be like and looks like a Kao the Kangaroo recreation ought to. The sport even contains Kao’s unique design as a dressing up should you actually need to full that throwback feeling.
The reignited method
Kao’s gameplay feels ripped proper out of the early 2000s in a great way. Kao strikes slower than your typical platformer protagonist and has a comparatively tame transfer set that consists of a double bounce, punch, ground-pound, roll, and spin within the air. Whereas it won’t be as sophisticated as Tremendous Mario Odyssey, it nonetheless will get the job executed due to Kao the Kangaroo’s extra relaxed tempo and stage design that accounts for the sport’s velocity and Kao’s strikes fairly effectively.
Whereas I’m undecided this would be the most enjoyable platformer to speedrun due to that slower tempo, the mobility continues to be various sufficient to allow shortcuts in larger ranges as soon as gamers learn to string a few of Kao’s strikes collectively. Whereas fight is fairly easy (you’ll primarily use Kao’s fundamental three-hit combo), fights by no means overstay their welcome. Platforming and fight are additionally spiced up when gamers increase Kao’s gloves with fireplace, ice, and wind, though these upgrades are momentary and level-specific.
Whereas Kao isn’t essentially the most bold platformer when it comes to gameplay, it focuses on the basics and will get them proper. Kao the Kangaroo is enjoyable to play, and even essentially the most informal of avid gamers ought to have the ability to choose the sport up and revel in it.
Due to that, the sport by no means will get that difficult. I solely died a couple of instances all through the journey and had extra lives than I knew what to do with by the tip of the expertise. That’s disappointing for these of us who like problem from our platformers, however fortunately exploring each nook and cranny of every stage for collectibles is simply as rewarding as a tricky stage could be. Finally, Kao the Kangaroo looks like a throwback to when 3D platformer might simply be pure, easy enjoyable and never have to fret about redefining the style or sporting AAA animation and visuals.
That’s why it’s irritating when the sport stops the participant of their tracks to emphasise the story.
Cease for storytime
Remember that your first time via Kao the Kangaroo, you’ll continually need to endure a lackluster story. Despite the fact that Tate Multimedia builders admitted in an interview with Digital Traits that the narrative wasn’t a spot they might compete with AAA video games, there’s nonetheless an incredibly vital give attention to it right here that does extra hurt than good.
The plot revolves round Kao’s makes an attempt to search out his lacking father and sister and his combat in opposition to an evil Everlasting Warrior and a darkish spirit inside his gloves. It’s a reasonably generic “save the household and the world” story you’ve seen earlier than, and the twist villain is obvious from a mile away. It’s an unnecessarily bold story for a franchise whose first recreation was about Kao rescuing his associates from an evil hunter.
“The story simply finally ends up feeling like one thing that you must sit via.”
Nonetheless, this plot might’ve been salvaged if it labored as a enjoyable Saturday morning cartoon. Sadly, weak voice appearing and writing imply that it doesn’t hit these highs. Particularly, Kao’s voice actor sadly by no means looks like he delivers his traces fairly proper. as he persistently places the emotional emphasis on the incorrect phrases. It’s laborious to attach with something happening when the sport’s protagonist is so annoying. Different characters, like Kao’s mentor Walt, additionally simply sound stilted of their line supply, making many of the voice performances on this recreation really feel very amateurish.
The dialogue itself delves into cliché, and its humor boils all the way down to meme references to the sport’s determinant. An change the place Kao’s mom references Skyrim’s “arrow to the knee” meme and Doom’s “rip and tear” mantra left me significantly baffled. Kao the Kangaroo by no means wanted deep narrative or frequent voice appearing to be nice, and Tate’s try to deliver these in hurts the standard of the expertise. Fortunately, you’ll be able to skip all of the cutscenes, though miss out on necessary context for every stage.
Finally, the story simply finally ends up feeling like one thing that you must sit via so this collection can reestablish its narrative identification earlier than getting you to the subsequent dose of enjoyable platforming. Fortunately, that platforming feels enjoyable and rewarding, if not significantly difficult. Tate Multimedia is aware of how you can make an fulfilling 3D platformer, so I hope this isn’t the final we see of this 22-year-old Kangaroo. Extra of those obscure however beloved collection need to get fashionable follow-ups, not simply the large guys like Mario and Crash Bandicoot.
Kao the Kangaroo won’t be essentially the most revolutionary, tough, or narratively satisfying platformer on the market, however this recreation nonetheless nails the fundamentals. As such, any fan of recent 3D platformers will discover quite a bit to take pleasure in with this reboot of Kao the Kangaroo and perhaps even be impressed to take a look at the forgotten classics Kao starred in.
Is there a greater different?
The closest fashionable comparisons are titles like SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Backside — Rehydrated and Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. If these 3D platformers had been your cup of tea, then you definately’ll dig the brand new Kao the Kangaroo.
How lengthy will it final?
Kao the Kangaroo isn’t a large recreation, so most gamers ought to see and accumulate every part the sport gives inside 8 to 10 hours. For those who aren’t making an attempt to be a completionist, it is going to be a lot shorter than that.
Do you have to purchase it?
Sure. This isn’t the subsequent basic 3D platformer, but it surely’s a welcome revival of a basic platformer mascot that by no means actually bought the find it irresistible deserved.
Kao the Kangaroo was reviewed on Xbox Collection X.