Kao the Kangaroo review: An obscure, but welcome revival | Digital Trends

    Kao the Kangaroo
    MSRP $29.99

    “Kao the Kangaroo is a fun 3D platformer franchise revival with solid platforming and less-than-solid narrative.”


    Simple however enjoyable platforming

    Well designed ranges

    Vibrant visuals


    Poor voice performing and story

    No actual challenges

    Tate Multimedia is giving a forgotten-turned-beloved platforming mascot a second likelihood with the rebooted Kao the Kangaroo. This new sport, which shares a reputation with the franchise itself, exhibits why now could be really the right time to deliver Kao again. Nowadays, 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.
    While Mario, Crash Bandicoot, Rayman, and Spyro the Dragon have been finally the platforming mascots that stood the check of the time one of the best, they’re removed from the one memorable characters to headline 3D platforming video games. Popular YouTube video and Twitter hashtags helped deliver this sequence again, and the trouble from followers was principally value it. Devilishly easy however surprisingly memorable in most features of its design, this basic Kao the Kangaroo is an satisfying platforming romp regardless of some shortcomings.
    It could also be a simple platformer with poor voice performing and a nasty story, however Kao the Kangaroo delivers basically satisfying gameplay in a vibrant world, exhibiting how even the much less well-remembered platformers from the style’s heyday have a greater likelihood at getting the love they deserve now than they did 20+ years in the past.

    It’s about time
    During the late 90s and early 2000s particularly, many builders took cute animals, machines, or youngsters and turned them into the star of an thrilling platformer for gamers of all ages. Kao the Kangaroo is one among these sequence, with the primary three video games within the sequence 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 is a level-based platformer the place the participant’s main purpose is to make their strategy to the top of the stage whereas getting as many collectibles as potential. Like the basic Kao video games, this reboot isn’t probably the most unique idea from a gameplay standpoint however executes this tried and true concept nicely.

    Kao the Kangaroo has a vibrant and joyous visible design. While animations clearly aren’t as fluid as AAA video games like Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time or Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Kao the Kangaroo’s visuals are nonetheless stuffed with appeal as Kao takes large strides as he walks and may 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. Every stage feels distinct because of clear visible theming, distinct shade pallets, and distinctive enemies in every hub. Exploring the comparatively protected however jungle-filled Hopalloo Island feels a lot completely different than making my means by later ranges, like a spa resort situated on the highest of an icy mountain overtaken by an evil power.
    “Kao’s gameplay feels ripped right out of the early 2000s in a good way.”

    It may not be AAA high quality, nevertheless it appears and looks like a Kao the Kangaroo sport ought to. The sport even contains Kao’s unique design as a fancy dress should you actually wish to full that throwback feeling.
    The reignited components
    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 soar, punch, ground-pound, roll, and spin within the air. While it may not be as difficult as Super Mario Odyssey, it nonetheless will get the job executed because of Kao the Kangaroo’s extra relaxed tempo and stage design that accounts for the sport’s velocity and Kao’s strikes fairly nicely.
    While I’m unsure this would be the most enjoyable platformer to speedrun due to that slower tempo, the mobility remains to be numerous sufficient to allow shortcuts in larger ranges as soon as gamers learn to string a few of Kao’s strikes collectively. While fight is fairly easy (you’ll primarily use Kao’s primary three-hit combo), fights by no means overstay their welcome. Platforming and fight are additionally spiced up when gamers increase Kao’s gloves with hearth, ice, and wind, though these upgrades are momentary and level-specific.

    While Kao isn’t probably the most bold platformer by way of gameplay, it focuses on the basics and will get them proper. Kao the Kangaroo is enjoyable to play, and even probably the most informal of avid gamers ought to be capable to decide the sport up and revel in it.
    Because of 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 top of the expertise. That’s disappointing for these of us who like a superb problem from our platformers, however fortunately exploring each nook and cranny of every stage for collectibles is simply as rewarding as a tricky stage can be. Ultimately, Kao the Kangaroo looks like a throwback to when 3D platformer may 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.
    Stop for storytime
    Be conscious that your first time by Kao the Kangaroo, you’ll continuously need to endure a lackluster story. Even although Tate Multimedia builders admitted in an interview with Digital Trends that the narrative wasn’t a spot they may compete with AAA video games, there’s nonetheless an incredibly important concentrate on it right here that does extra hurt than good.
    The plot revolves round Kao’s makes an attempt to seek out his lacking father and sister and his struggle towards an evil Eternal Warrior and a darkish spirit inside his gloves. It’s a reasonably generic “save the family 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 sport was about Kao rescuing his buddies from an evil hunter.
    “The story just ends up feeling like something you need to sit through.”

    Still, this plot may’ve been salvaged if it labored as a enjoyable Saturday morning cartoon. Sadly, weak voice performing and writing imply that it doesn’t hit these highs. In specific, Kao’s voice actor sadly by no means looks like he delivers his strains fairly proper. as he constantly places the emotional emphasis on the flawed phrases. It’s exhausting to attach with something occurring when the sport’s protagonist is so annoying. Other characters, like Kao’s mentor Walt, additionally simply sound stilted of their line supply, making many of the voice performances on this sport really feel very amateurish.
    The dialogue itself delves into cliché, and its humor boils right 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 performing to be nice, and Tate’s try to deliver these in hurts the standard of the expertise. Thankfully, you may skip all of the cutscenes, though miss out on vital context for every stage.

    Ultimately, the story simply finally ends up feeling like one thing you could sit by so this sequence can reestablish its narrative id earlier than getting you to the following dose of enjoyable platforming. Thankfully, that platforming feels enjoyable and rewarding, if not significantly difficult. Tate Multimedia is aware of methods to make an satisfying 3D platformer, so I hope this isn’t the final we see of this 22-year-old Kangaroo. More of those obscure however beloved sequence need to get fashionable follow-ups, not simply the large guys like Mario and Crash Bandicoot.
    Our take
    Kao the Kangaroo may not be probably the most revolutionary, tough, or narratively satisfying platformer on the market, however this sport nonetheless nails the fundamentals. As such, any fan of contemporary 3D platformers will discover rather a lot to get pleasure from with this reboot of Kao the Kangaroo and possibly even be impressed to take a look at the forgotten classics Kao starred in.
    Is there a greater various?
    The closest fashionable comparisons are titles like SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom — Rehydrated and Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. If these 3D platformers have been your cup of tea, then you definitely’ll dig the brand new Kao the Kangaroo.
    How lengthy will it final?
    Kao the Kangaroo isn’t a large sport, so most gamers ought to see and acquire all the things the sport provides inside 8 to 10 hours. If you aren’t attempting to be a completionist, will probably be a lot shorter than that.
    Should you purchase it?
    Yes. This isn’t the following basic 3D platformer, nevertheless it’s a welcome revival of a basic platformer mascot that by no means actually received the like it deserved.
    Kao the Kangaroo was reviewed on Xbox Series X.

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