The transition to the new millennium, the 2000s, seems to be a long way off, but it was a great time for fans of 3D action / platform games. From Rayman to Crash Bandicoot via Jak & Daxter, many licenses arose or claimed during this period. During this nostalgic trip, the Kao Kangaroo is a nod to all these leaping heroes. But does he manage to leave his mark?
This may surprise some people, but this Kao The Kangaroo vintage 2022 is actually the fifth episode of the saga. Originally known as “Denis the Kangaroo”, this franchise was born two decades ago on Dreamcast, SEGA’s latest console and PC (the game was also adapted for Nintendo’s old portable console, Game Boy Advance). Directed by the Polish studio X-Ray Interactive (now renamed Tate Multimedia), the title features a kangaroo with destructive fists in a series of levels with a cartoon look. Pretty linear with its sequels in corridors (a la Donald Couak Attack? *!), This first episode laid the foundation for a saga that has grown in scope.
Its sequel, available on PlayStation 2, Xbox and Gamecube, offers voiceovers in French, a more powerful scenario, enriched (and much faster) gameplay, and richer and more open worlds. The set is technically superior to the original, while offering an artistic direction reminiscent of a work like Rayman 2: The Great Escape and its sequels. Then there was an episode exclusive to the PC, Kao 3: The Mystery Of The Volcano as well as a redesign of the second episode on PSP (the first portable console from Sony).
The gloves of the rebellion
When Kao the Kangaroo: Round 2 was released on Steam in 2019, developers at Tate Multimedia were surprised by the enthusiasm of nostalgic fans. Excavated without great ambitions sold the title well, and the studio finally created a new section. Soberly titled Kao the Kangaroo, the game uses the ingredients of the first two parts, while bringing all the flexibility of modern tools. We will quickly review the scenario (a sister in danger gives rise to an initial mission) to focus on the attractions of this restart – in other words, the restart of a long dormant series.
After a quick tutorial, the player discovers a large village by the sea. This square, which serves as the main area, provides access to the various levels, and everything is based on the kangaroo’s ability to reclaim ducats (the game currency used to gain hearts or extra lives) and especially runes. These purple artifacts are truly the key to the locked portals, and we quickly understand that exploration is at the heart of this new adventure.
The avatar can thus walk anywhere in this open area, wade through the water and explore each of the huts to fill up with coins. To give this environment some life, the developers have adjusted various interactions with the natives, with some individuals having a greater role than others. This is especially the case with Gadget le Pélican, whose boat will be very useful to you in good time.
Once the first runes are washed out, we enter the core of the case by sinking into the dark forest. Based on its old-fashioned structure, Kao the Kangaroo is reminiscent of great classics like Rayman 2 (sometimes even to the music!). In addition to his destructive fist, Kao can double jump, catch and throw projectiles, swing at the end of a temporary vine, spin and smash the ground with his backside. Along the way, the macropod (the word to shine in the evening) must even combine his gloves with fire, ice, etc.
The game is based on a fairly linear progression in the levels, but wants to be more open on the different main areas. The humor is not lacking and the feeling, controlling in the hand, is quite effective. The hero moves well, the animation is fluid and the cartoon page works wonderfully! It’s a shame that the fights lack precision and that the enemies (with the exception of the bosses, more worked) only act as a punching bag.
A cartoon-like family adventure
Despite graphic elements from the Unreal Engine that are a little too recognizable (the 3D engine used to create the game), Kao the Kangaroo is a little delight for the retina. Very attractive visually, the game explodes with a thousand colors and causes young and old to develop into an exotic universe of the most pleasant. The various special effects are of high quality and the characters’ movements are well transcribed. A few aspects are more generic than others, but the title leaves a positive impression overall.
We thus spend our time wandering through the tracks, smashing coffins, enemies and other objects in the environment to recycle ducats. The adventure ends pretty quickly, but collectors will be happy to reclaim the diamonds, reels and letters K, A and O hidden in each level. We give you, in addition to getting 100%, it is not very useful, but it prolongs life. There are also hidden wells that provide access to platform / combat challenges that must be completed in record time. Ultimately a very sweet game and perfectly suited for a family afternoon!
- The cartoon art direction charms the retina
- Accessible and family friendly
- The bucolic musical atmosphere
- Comfortable to handle
- Difficulty level suitable for children (adult help for managers)
- Various decorations
- Limited interest from collectors
- No real reason to go back
- Inaccurate and often messy fights
- A voice in English that does not stick to the hero
- No voice in French
- A little too classic in its approach
The Kao Kangaroo does not cheat at any time. In full assumption of its legacy, it assumes the contours of a rather classic platform game, but not uninteresting. Exploring, searching for collectibles, confronting enemies and bosses … the formula is ultra-familiar, but Tate Multimedia’s work offers a fantastic adventure thanks to its successful graphics and captivating cartoon atmosphere. With more precise matches and a slightly more original progression, the title could have rubbed off with the biggest. But as it is, it is quite cozy and the Kangaroo Kao arrives at the right time to accompany you with your family in the summer.
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