Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

[Review] Kao the Kangaroo – Nintendo Switch

By Elly Oak Oct 5, 2022
Developed and Published By: Tate Multimedia
Categories: 3D Platformer, Adventure
Release Date: 05.27.22

I actually have a bit of a history with Kao the Kangaroo. Well, the original Dreamcast game. I never played it back in the day, but I always liked the name. Enough to make it my online handle for ages. When word of a remake got out, I got excited because it’d be another opportunity to play this game. Even better, it’s on Nintendo Switch.

Kao the Kangaroo is one of those 3D Platformers that were everywhere back in 2000, and it’s remake also fits right in with the revival of the genre we’ve had lately, especially with remakes of Crash and Spyro. It’d actually be more appropriate to call this a reboot rather than a remake. The original game is more or less just a Kangaroo with boxing gloves saving his family from hunters, this reboot is a bit grander. All starting with Kao going on a quest to find his missing sister Kaia. It’s something that seemed to take leads from the sequel, Kao Round 2, a game I’m not too familiar with. This is probably due to it being a PS2, GCN, and Xbox game in 2006 in the US.

That’s not all that changed. Obviously between the twenty two years between Tate Multimedia made the original and this reboot, graphics have changed. Kao the Kangaroo looks lush, it’s bright, colorful. As someone only really only knew that the first game came out, this is night and day. Though Kao Round 2 from what I can see from online review, is a wholly improvement in terms of presentation from the first. Kao is no longer a cute little Kangaroo. Now he’s very much furry-bait, even with his tuft of hair.

Kao the Kangaroo has cutscenes now. A lot of them, voiced even. I have mixed feelings on the voice acting as it all seems like it’s be non-native English speakers, but none of it is really that bad.

This is kind of a mix of platformer and action game. You have those boxing gloves, so get to punching! It feels good to punch enemies. There’s even a little finishing move, though that feels less satisfying. You can roll to move faster, but it also works as an attack too. A aerial tail spin is there too, which not only hits objects up in the air, but can deflect projectiles.

You’ll be exploring too, with scrolls, crystals, runes, and even the letters of your name! The scrolls unlock stuff in the “Kaopedia”, which I love the name of so much. There’s a lot of coins, titled Ducats to collect too. They really remind me of the round Dunkaroo cookies. Ducats can be used to buy extra health, extra lives, or the best option, new clothes.

I actually really enjoyed exploring in the game and trying to find all of the hidden nooks and crannies, it didn’t really feel like a chore or I had to push myself to do it. The second level, somewhat of a hub is just a town, you can go into all of the other character’s houses, see their portraits, by the artist’s home the boardwalks are all covered in paint. It’s one of those things that makes you think the developer cared. A level not far into the game is just you going into what appears to be a club for the Frogsters. Jamming out in a band, going to the bar. I felt kind of bad.

Your gloves are a little special outside of just punching. Without really spoiling anything, they have a power and if a purple crystal is struck, it makes for some platforming. There’s even some bonus stages related to the power in those gloves. Puzzles throughout stages even make an appearance. These really are no ordinary boxing gloves.

For the most part, I’d say Kao the Kangaroo performs adequately. There’s no escaping the fact it’s a downscaled version of the Xbox and Playstation versions, but it works mostly fine. It’s mostly a decent running and looking game. However, in the wider more open areas, there’s going to be framerate dips and resolution dips. There’s a bit of a delay to some actions too. Absolutely nothing detrimental, but you don’t jump or punch the split second.

I’m surprised. I found myself really enjoying Kao the Kangaroo. It has flaws, probably mitigated by playing the game not on the Switch, but it’s a fun 3D platformer, and it’s really easy to screw those up. I’m hoping it gets some patches to smooth thing out in the near future to make playing the game for those handheld lovers a more enjoyable experience.

4/5

Buy Now: $29.99 Digital – $34.99 Physical

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*Game Download Code graciously provided for the purpose of review

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