Kao the Kangaroo is a beautiful 3D platformer presented in a stylistic cartoonish presentation, featuring the escapades of Kao, an adorable little Kangaroo, in his quest to save his father, while wielding a pair of magical boxing gloves that allows him to deal devastating attacks onto his enemies as he fully unleashes their full powers.
Story and Gameplay
The story in Kao the Kangaroo is Tarantino-ed where the game takes the player to the penultimate milestone in your journey first, before rewinding back to the very beginning prior to any of the dramatic events unfolding. For this I give props to the game direction, a non-linear story progression adds depth and excitement to the experience.
The gameplay is also not your ordinary run-of-the-mill 3D platformer. Although the game starts off giving major Crash Bandicoot vibes -which is most certainly a plus- , it soon differentiates itself through its impressive combat mechanics, where Kao has a lot more up his sleeve than Crash’s measly spin attack. As Kao yields a magic set of boxing gloves, he is able to do various moves, combos, and attack variations, as well as unlock powerups and even more powerful elemental attacks as the game progresses.
Combat aside, the platforming mechanics in Kao the Kangaroo are also excellent, with Kudos to the decision of making Kao able to swim, a feature that when absent always annoys any player when a 2-inch deep water hazard kills the player immediately, but not for Kao ! The camera work is also very well designed, as the game plays normally from a shoulder camera angle akin to Crash Bandicoot, and is suitable for the semi-linear level design in this game, however for semi-open areas the camera is flexible for the player to control in a seamless fashion. This gives the player a great sense of control without feeling shackled by unintuitive camera controls (Yes i’m looking at you Mario 64, you masterpiece you but your camera control is utter garbage).
Graphics and Performance
Kao the Kangaroo can look gorgeous at times, and at certain vistas you can tell that the devs poured their heart and soul into this game. But unfortunately such gorgeous game running on the inferior hardware of the Nintendo Switch makes the performance extremely choppy, with framerate drops, and pixelation visible whenever Kao visits complex environments or when there are multiple enemies on screen. It’s not game-breaking by any means and the game still looks gorgeous, but I would personally prefer playing the home-console ports of this game either on Xbox or Playstation, and only casually dabble with the Switch version while on the go. I also found character animations to be a bit stiff, both for Kao and the enemies, and overall characters do not feel as animated as a player would expect from a modern 3D platformer.
While Kao isn’t as cool as Crash Bandicoot, It is evident that Kao the Kangaroo game is a labor of love, and a title that actually excels and surpasses many 3D platformers in more than a handful of ways, cementing Kao as a franchise that I look forward to playing its future iterations. And an overall fun experience that I can highly recommend that any gamer should definitely give a try.
Special Thanks to Tate Multimedia for providing the Review Code