Kao the Kangaroo Switch Review – A Pleasant Blast from the Past
Kao the Kangaroo isn’t a franchise I’ve grown up with, but that doesn’t stop it from becoming a pleasant blast from the past. Sure, there are flaws, but overall, the game provides the same sense of 3D platforming nostalgia that both Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon have brought in the past.
An upbeat vibe but…
Tate Multimedia, the developer and publisher of Kao the Kangaroo, has nailed the vibe that most 3D platformers should strive for. It has a wondrous art style that makes the color pop on your screen and the character designs are mostly pleasant to look at. It has a great sense of personality, and the writing for the game is campy, yet fitting for the tone that Tate Multimedia is going for.
This isn’t a serious-in-tone title like Jak II on the PlayStation 2, Kao the Kangaroo is going for that happy-go-lucky vibe that many would appreciate in a post-pandemic era of the world. The game feels like a welcome hug from your childhood friend, but as you dive deeper into Kao the Kangaroo, you realize they’ve been through some trouble since you last met.
It may be intentional, but the voice acting is quite awful. The delivery of the lines is awkward as if someone from France was trying to speak English as best as they can. The voices stumble with some phrasing and the overall tone of the characters feels a little off. They get the overall vibe that Kao the Kangaroo is trying to offer to its players but the voice actors’ delivery isn’t the best.
Entertaining world design and gameplay
While the voice acting isn’t the best, Kao the Kangaroo succeeds as a 3D platformer with its controls and gameplay mechanics. Jumping feels spot-on with the controller, and whenever I make a mistake, the game isn’t the issue. It’s satisfying to jump up, hit an interdimensional crystal in the air, and then land on a summoned platform in front of Kao.
Each level feels unique and provides new challenges to the player. For example, in the “River Track” level, there’s a Crash Bandicoot-like element to it, which has a big monkey chasing after you, and in the “Durian Valley,” there are enemies that are throwing the fruit at you and a slide of durian juice that you have to glide on. Tate Multimedia succeeds at bringing multiple entertaining moments within a playthrough.
The collectibles are well placed, so if you’re a completionist, you’ll likely have to finish them multiple times (unless you read our guides). They’re cleverly placed in hidden corners, and Tate Multimedia encourages you to go off the beaten path, which once acted upon feels satisfying. Part of what hooks a 3D platforming player is that there are many items to collect, and Kao the Kangaroo offers that.
And you’ll want to explore each level as the theming is spot on. A jet engine turning into an exploding pump adds flair to the ending of one level, while the Dark Forest offers a concert area where your enemies are rocking it out.
The combat and music don’t match the platforming
Unfortunately, the combat system doesn’t match up to the fun platforming that Kao the Kangaroo has to offer. Kao has a basic combo with his fists and then performs a super attack whenever a meter is filled. It’s repetitive and can be refined perhaps with different elemental powers in a future game.
What also doesn’t help is the music in Kao the Kangaroo. The themes are not memorable and actually become repetitive in some levels. There’s a 30-second that loop plays and more often than not, the music doesn’t match the personality of each level. I’ve turned down the music volume multiple times in the Settings and put on some music from other platformers in the past.
Overall, Kao the Kangaroo is a promising reboot of a series many have known and loved. I’m not one of the fans who played the original but I could tell the amount of passion that was placed into this project. The level design is varied, the graphics are brimming with personality, and it feels satisfying to find every collectible in each level. It’s just too bad the voice acting, music, and combat don’t match up to the rest of the game. I hope a possible sequel improves upon these issues.
Kao the Kangaroo review provided by Nintendo Link
Publisher: Tate Multimedia
Developer: Tate Multimedia
Release Date: May 27, 2022
Price: $29.99, £24.99, €29.99
Game Size: 3.7 GB
Review code provided by Tate Multimedia
Wonderful level design with spot on platforming.
Vibrant and colorful graphics.
The collectibles are well hidden.
The voice acting is awkward.
Kao's combat is dull.
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An experienced freelance writer, Chris has a vast knowledge of the gaming medium. With a Bachelor of Communications degree, he hopes to elevate his writing further. His favorite games are Kingdom Hearts, Beyond Good & Evil, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.