Kao the Kangaroo DEALS
How many of you remember Kao the Kangaroo? Be honest. I admit that I removed it, and even when a new game was announced seventeen years after the last one, it took me a moment to understand what we were talking about. In the end, I remembered and welcomed the news with pleasure because despite having put it in a drawer that you don’t think you will reopen, Kao played it in his own time and enjoyed it. It was a relaxing alternative to Crash Bandicoot, which committed to teasing my nerves with all the good whatever he might want.
We might see our boxer kangaroo as the slightly unlucky cousin of the marsupial under too much caffeine: an attempt to chase after and imitate a more famous franchise that, in turn, enjoyed fluctuating success until it stopped in 2008 (on mobile has moved on a little longer than consoles) and had to wait until 2017 to be reborn as a remake, then finding a following in 2020. Kao, however, has its own identity and pursues its limelight without going through a remake; although the title Kao the Kangaroo may make you think, opting rather for a reboot in which we see him getting the famous boxing gloves.
Therefore, the genesis of Kao starts from a new adventure in which, coincidentally, he will have to bail out his family and save the whole world: normal administration for a young martial arts adept and his talking gloves.
Kao is a teenager like many others. Sure, he’s a kangaroo, but it doesn’t make much difference: exuberant, cheeky, with big dreams, lives on Hoppaloo Island with his family, trains with master Walt, uses social media (apparently, he has a better internet connection than mia). In short, you enjoy a simple life. At least until his father Koby, a great martial arts champion, disappears and his sister Kaia with him: left alone with his mother, following a nightmare in which he sees his sister in danger, Kao decides to embark on a journey to save them. Despite the initial unwillingness of his mother, Marlene, who would not want to lose him as her husband and daughter, after some adventures in which she finds the so-called Kao Eternal Gloves, she gets permission to travel with the master Walt to find her family.
The Eternal Gloves are Kao’s shoulder, that somewhat good and a little bad character who nevertheless espouses his cause (especially as a matter of vanity) and offers him the powers without which he would not be able to go very far in his voyage. They had been buried because they were considered dangerous and Kao, with the help of a vision, retrieves them, proving himself able to wear them without suffering who knows what consequences. Traveling through different environments, each divided into several levels, our heroic kangaroo has the task of bringing back to more mild advice characters that the evil of the moment has corrupted and can help him achieve his goal. Who seems to want the Eternal Gloves.
Kao the Kangaroo recalls the 3D platformers of the golden times, structuring itself into worlds/levels, filling them with collectibles and challenges, coins to collect to shop at the store, and above all, a small number of powers that will be useful to us both to continue the adventure and to satisfy our desire for completeness. As I said, Kao is simpler than Crash Bandicoot: a long platform to whiz around without particular difficulty, perhaps more aimed at an audience of very young people but no less enjoyable by adults as well. It is that adventure to spend time on when you want to relax and have fun because sometimes you are not always ready to embark on exhausting sessions. It reminded me of Kaze and the Wild Masks, although the latter is more lively and unnerving.
To access the different levels, you need a specific amount of artifacts scattered both for the main hub of each setting and in the individual levels themselves. Therefore, we are faced with a linear progression dictated by the game itself and which only in very rare cases allows us to choose which of several levels to tackle first. Each of these can contain artifacts, scrolls (unlock entries in the Kaopedia), diamonds, and eternal wells – bonus levels similar to Crash’s but simpler along which we can get additional coins and diamonds.
Once these wells have been found, there is the possibility to replay them in case we missed something by exploiting the main well present in each hub. As you can see, Kao the Kangaroo pampers your nerves rather than breaking them like his cousin. This is also seen in health management: you don’t die if hit once, as Kao has a health gauge made up of hearts that can be boosted if you collect four heart fragments (if desired, some can be bought in stores for the right amount sum). It must be said that it is extremely difficult to die and even more difficult to reach the game by running out of hearts; we consume one of the lives, which are in turn for sale or scattered along with the levels.
Since it follows a linear progression, Kao will gain his powers and abilities the same way. The Eternal Gloves give our heroic kangaroo abilities otherwise inaccessible:
- For example, they can open a parallel reality within the game world to help him overcome some obstacles.
- They grant him elemental powers.
- They allow him to use an Eternal Rope to swing and traverse very large spaces (as long as there is a hook to use it).
In short, as we continue in the adventure, we become more and more aware of our abilities, while the depth of the level design grows without becoming too complex.
Despite the presence of the checkpoints, if there is something I missed, it is the option to load the game from one of these. I have encountered a couple of bugs that caused me to restart the session, but it’s just the ability to restart the level itself, go back to the hub or go to the main menu. None of these choices then restart the game from the last checkpoint but instead lead to restart from the beginning of the level. Yes, all progress up to that point is saved, but we still have to go back to where we stopped. The levels are relatively short, it must be said, but it would have been useful to be able to resume the session from any checkpoint- this even compared to the Quick Resume on Xbox, where I played it. There are a thousand reasons why we are forced to stop the game without necessarily calling the bugs in question; doing it without having to start from scratch would have been useful.
Aside from that, Kao the Kangaroo is an experience that generally runs smoothly. There have been occasional bugs and, in equally rare cases, some glitches or technical smears that have undermined the general fluidity but nothing that can ruin the experience. Let’s say that a few more small finishes would not have hurt. Artistically, the game is colorful and with a cartoon style that goes well with the general atmosphere. The animations during the films suffer from some uncertainty, while the English dubbing is good, and I have not encountered particular errors in the Italian localization. Overall, if you are nostalgic and passionate about classic 3D platformers, this is for you.
Kao the Kangaroo is a tribute to the 3D platformers of the heyday, which takes the opportunity of the 21st anniversary of the boxer kangaroo to present itself in the form of a reboot. Overall it is a captivating, simple experience, capable of entertaining and entertaining players of all ages despite a general difficulty set downwards. Who knows if it will be the springboard for the new life of the nice Kao?
Kao the Kangaroo
Simple and fun, Kao the Kangaroo is a platformer that is worth playing if you want to relax in front of the console despite minor flaws.
- Good 0%