ReviewsReview: Kao the Kangaroo

Review: Kao the Kangaroo

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When I think of 90s gaming, my thoughts lean towards the classic 3D platforming experiences. Mario 64, Croc, Spyro, and Crash Bandicoot, leap out. However, this genre isn’t as popular nowadays, and that is a shame. Yes, there is still a fanbase that will jump at any new titles, but these are few and far between. Therefore, when Kao the Kangaroo was released, it created a flurry of excitement. Gamers couldn’t wait to experience some classic 90s action.

Developed and published by Tate Multimedia, this is a vivid and amusing platform title. This is the 4th instalment in a franchise that has spanned 20+ years. Consequently, you’d expect these industry-savvy developers to produce a seamless and captivating game. It utilises all the familiar platforming tropes and has a cast of interesting characters. Furthermore, it is simple enough for younger gamers and veteran players to enjoy.

The interest stage design should have made this stand out.
The level design is fantastic.

Kao the Kangaroo lacks originality.

With so many games being churned out, it is tough to be original. Accordingly, Kao the Kangaroo falls foul of this trap because of its well-trodden mechanics. Sadly, much of the gameplay feels dated and tired. Yet, its combination of fast-paced action, collectables, and new elements just about keep you going. Subsequently, older gamers will want to play this casually to keep things fresh. Younger players, however, will enjoy the colourful levels, special abilities, and everything in between.

The story revolves around the Australian hero, Kao the Kangaroo. His sister is missing, and his dad has mysteriously disappeared, but one night, Kao has a premonition. His sister guides him to his father’s magical boxing gloves, and this is where the journey begins. Armed only with the cursed gloves and an array of special powers, Kao must find his sister, battle “fighting masters”, and destroy the Eternal Warrior.

Many of the levels are fantastic to look at.
Such a beautiful and interesting world to look at.

It didn’t wow me.

I’m not a massive fan of this genre, yet I loved Mario 64 and Crash Bandicoot. Disappointingly, Kao the Kangaroo falls short of these titles. With a lack of oomph and flat gameplay, I was desperate for more. Even when new elements were added, they lacked energy and were bland. This was a shame, as its vivid world, interesting ideas, and eclectic characters had the potential to be brilliant.

With basic platforming mechanics and a few unique moments, it is reassuringly familiar. But this is its downfall. It relies too heavily on its foundations and doesn’t evolve enough. Yes, you play with some interesting combat combos, and the use of elemental power to solve problems was intriguing, but it wasn’t enough.

The key mechanic is Kao’s gloves. These cursed mitts can store up to 3 fire, electricity, or ice power elements. They are then used to solve problems and open new paths. However, the lack of difficulty and the easy-to-solve problems undermine their use. Now, I don’t want a brutally tough game, but I don’t want it handed to me on a plate either. Tate Multimedia got the balance horribly wrong, and this was underwhelming.

Kao the Kangaroo looks amazing.

Though the gameplay is lacking, the graphics are fantastic. The sharp and bright imagery makes up for the game’s many shortcomings. What’s more, the variety of locations and interesting characters makes this game stand out. Whether it was a lava-filled pit, an icy hellhole, or a lush jungle, it looked amazing. Consequently, this made the poor gameplay that bit more disappointing.

Another interesting layer was the fun audio. The upbeat music and crazy sound effects create a jovial atmosphere. Furthermore, the acting is amusing even if the dialogue was a little dated. I was impressed by the visuals and audio, however, the rest of it taints the excellent presentation.

Kao the Kangaroo is full of collectables.
So many coins to collect.

Responsive and simply to play.

Like many of its peers, Kao the Kangaroo is exceptionally easy to play. Thanks to its responsive controls and simple layout, you’ll have it mastered immediately. This is helped further by the quick but thorough tutorial. This explains the fundamentals without overcomplicating the matter.

Platform games are renowned for their longevity and replay value. This one oozes both thanks to its collectables, scoring system, achievement list, and secret worlds. Then, there are the runes that open up new areas and progress the story. This element was well-considered and kept you returning for more.

Kao the Kangaroo wasn’t for me.

I know some of you will adore Kao the Kangaroo. Sadly, though, it wasn’t for me. It played on too many genre stereotypes and didn’t evolve enough for my liking. Moreover, its lack of development stagnates the gameplay, and it quickly becomes tiresome. I won’t recommend you play it, but more information can be found here! Undertake a colourful adventure through some interesting landscapes. Learn new abilities, unlock new paths, and defeat the Eternal Warrior.

SUMMARY

Kao the Kangaroo is a classic 3D adventure platformer. Sadly, its reliance on well-trodden mechanics hinders the action. Moreover, there are better examples of the genre. However, its graphics, audio, and variety of environments are fantastic. It's a shame that the rest of the game isn't as inventive or as polished. If they were, this would have been a great game.


+ Fantastic graphics.
+ Fun audio.
+ Simple controls.
+ Plenty of replay value.

- Tiresome action.
- Too many genre stereotypes.

(Rating: PEGI 7 Violence Release date: 27/05/2022 Price: £24.99)


(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available Xbox One, PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5)


Daniel Waite
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: Daniel@moviesgamesandtech.com

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Review: Kao the Kangaroo<p class="has-text-align-justify" style="font-size:14px"><em>Kao the Kangaroo</em> is a classic 3D adventure platformer. Sadly, its reliance on well-trodden mechanics hinders the action. Moreover, there are better examples of the genre. However, its graphics, audio, and variety of environments are fantastic. It's a shame that the rest of the game isn't as inventive or as polished. If they were, this would have been a great game. </p><br/> + Fantastic graphics. <br/> + Fun audio. <br/> + Simple controls. <br/> + Plenty of replay value. <br/> <br/> - Tiresome action. <br/> - Too many genre stereotypes. <br/> <br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(<b>Rating:</b> PEGI 7 Violence <b>Release date:</b> 27/05/2022 <b>Price:</b> £24.99)</p><br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available Xbox One, PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5)</p><br/>