Kao The Kangaroo, protagonist of today’s review, is the rebirth of a brand that now seemed to have fallen into oblivion. 17 years after the release of the last chapter, however, here is the reappearance of the boxing kangaroo with a new chapter. Will he be able to knock out boredom? Let’s find out together!
Kao The Kangaroo: Spyro and Crash’s illegitimate son
When it comes to the sacred monsters of the 3D platforming it is impossible not to mention the two former PlayStation exclusives, obviously I’m talking about Spyro And Crash Bandicoot. Playing Kao The Kangaroo for this review, the sensations we had were that of playing a hybrid, which took positives from both the purple dragon and Crash. A sparkling gameplaystages of platforming alternating with small phases of combat scattered and an excellent exploratory component, since it is important to sift through every clod of the levels so as not to lose secrets and collectibles. In this sense, the level design is both friend and foe depending on the case, because if in some situations the hidden alleys and secondary paths are easy to find, in others they are hidden sections really very well and you are pushed to repeat some of the levels several times over the course of the adventure, to recover collectibles not found immediately.
Talking about pure gameplay, Kao The Kangaroo he certainly does his job very well. As mentioned it is a playfully very lively game, you always have some action inputs to press (whether to jump or to fight). In this sense, the difference is Kao’s gimmick, that is, to be a boxing kangaroo! It will in fact be possible to hit and break most of the elements of the scenario, which is what always keeps the feeling of playfulness highas it were, during the levels and exploration of the hub of game. A bit’ what happened with Spyro, where flames were constantly being thrown left and right to break that pot or attack that other enemy. THE Kao’s boxing gloves however, they are not only used to fight or to break objects, they are in fact also able to make us use grapples of energy or imbue yourself with elemental powers, useful for interacting with specific objects or obstacles and continuing / reaching hidden places. In history we discover that they actually are Kao’s father’s gloves, and that our hero wants to use them to find his sister. The other side of the coin is that a mysterious power corrupted those gloves, also giving them the ability to talk to the wearer, but that’s part of the story of Kao The Kangaroo and as in many platform plays a secondary role, which is why we will not cover it in a special section in this review without spoiling the few surprises available.
It will be to advance us in the game the collection of Runes scattered in the various levels, which once accumulated in a certain number will allow us to access the next levels. Obviously it will not be obvious to find them all, but they are not really hidden either. You just need to know how to look around and it will be easy to collect them all. A concept born with Mario 64, at the dawn of 3D platforming in video games, and that still works very well, so we could say team that wins you don’t change! The levels also contain mini challenges, which we will have access to through the eternal wells, in which we will face specific game phases to collect collectibles and extra coins. To host the entrance in the various levelsis classics that boss fightare as said of the major gaming hubs (one for each game world). Inside them it will be possible to find collectiblesto collect coinsfind occasionally some Rune And buy game items with coins, like skin for our Kao, quarters of heart (once you get 4, you get one more permanent heart), and extra lives. The hubs also contain eternal wells, from which to access the mini challenges of the wells found in the levels to replay them.
Solid progression, compelling gameplay and very fluid, one very good amount of content it’s a well done level design. Kao The Kangaroo has its greatest strength in gameplay, but it also has the defect of not doing anything really “innovative”. We are not talking about a Kirby And The Lost Land (here our review) where there is always an original twist and a lot of variety in the game phases, if we want indeed the stages of Kao The Kangaroo they are mostly divided into watertight compartments (often you fight in special spaces, they are not well blended sequences), and in general you never have the wow effect. It remains a very honest platformer, very nice and advisable, but nothing exceptional.
The technical sector leaks from all sides
If the gameplay of Kao The Kangaroo it is valid, and we have talked about it very well so far in this review, from the technical side if we do not talk about a hecatomb we are close to it. We are not referring to the graphics per se, which indeed it is very pleasant even if at times perhaps a little too minimal (especially with lighting and reflections at the minimum wage).
The real problem lies in the technical stability of the game: sound effects that sometimes do not start, vases or other objects technically destroyed but from which the destruction animation does not start (with only the sound) and then suddenly disappear, music that sometimes starts, sometimes does not and still others start many seconds late. The audio of the cutscenes sometimes is very poorly equalizedand in general the level of acting is so low that only in the PS1 / early PS2 era did you see (and hear) worse.
If we then add some collision occasional that goes to be blessed, objects in the scenario with which you can interact by hitting them, on paper, but in practice only at their discretion, sometimes chilling animations and level objects (or their shadows) that appear only when you approach a few steps, the end result is that of a nice game to play but damn incomplete on a technical level.
Obviously we are not talking about a game that has had rivers of money available as a budget, e indeed we hope that future patches will do everything possible to correct the correctable. However, we could not ignore this “beta state”, sometimes from alpha, of the title. For the aforementioned extenuating circumstances, we didn’t lower the rating much but we couldn’t ignore the state of the game as we played it either. That said, maybe already from a possible patch day 1 we will see some of these problems solved, so the non-severity in lowering the vote is on trust, but also for another reason.
Although there are undeniable technical defects, and at times heavy, we do not feel like making them enough to advise you against Kao The Kangaroo. Then let’s talk about a fairly old series which returns after many years (if you want to know more, you can take a look at the Wikipedia page by clicking here), so we hope that the next ones will be able to shore up where it is needed. So promoted, but with reservations.
Kao The Kangaroo (Tested on PS5)
Kao is a valid title after all, excellent if you are a lover of platformers that were popular in the late 90s and early 2000s such as Crash and Spyro. However, the quality is tainted by a whole series of technical problems, some that would almost suggest an alpha or at least a preliminary beta. Playfully recommended, but widely revisable on a technical level.