Review by WishingTikal
"Kao the Kangaroo is an OK kids game"
It took over a year for the game to be released in america, with a new box art to attract older players. However, Kao the Kangaroo still is a kids game at core. May you be an older player or a younger one, Kao remains, regardless of its fun factor, an okay game.
Platform games aren't specially known for introducing good storylines, and Kao being aimed at kids doesn't help any least. On one side, Hunter Barnaba, the evil despot who wants to capture all the innocent animals, and on the other side, Kao who will save his friends from Barnaba. As simple as it gets. And wait 'til you see the ending, you won't believe your eyes. It's not very surprised in any way, as nothing in the game is original. It's platforming 101: jump, run, collect items. Don't be mislead though; this is no Banjo, Jak, Ratchet or Spyro. If I could compare it to one game, it would be Ty the Tasmanian Tiger. In addition to both being kids friendly games, they both follow a very similar concept. Cartoony look, gameplay lacks novelty, linear... although Kao is a lot more straightforward.
In Kao, just as in most platform games, you've got the hub world, from where you can access all the other levels. It's a pretty small hub though, that only connects to five regions (the basic forest world, winter world, underwater world, island world...). Each zone's got from 3 to 4 levels (plus a boss), which makes for a total of about 15 levels only. Not a very big game at all, since the levels are pretty short at that. In fact, I was able to finish the whole game in one day, while still managing to collect everything on the same go. Says it all.
The game is also very easy and doesn't offer much challenge for older players. Younger ones may have a bit of difficulty with some of the parts though. In most of the game, you'll be jumping over pits, escaping pursuers and other basic platforming galore you've already done in other, better games. It's not badly done though, as Kao the Kangaroo is a pretty fun game, regardless of its simple design. If you like the standard "Avoid obstacles. Find items. Reach exit.", then Kao is good for that, and delivers perfectly what you'd expect from it. It's just too bad the game doesn't introduce anything new, but it's enjoyable the whole way through. There are a lot of items to collect, although they are a bit too easy to obtain, as they don't really require any skill to find. It's disappointed also that the game doesn't reward you for collecting all the items, but at least it contains a few mini-games once you're done with the main quest.
Cartoony, cute, colorful. If you're into this kind of graphics, then you'll love Kao's visual style. The art is pretty nice, although rather simplistic. Technically, nothing really groundbreaking, but the final result is very charming and fits the game's mood wonderfully, thanks to little touches that make Kao's vivid and appealing world come to life.
That's the main grip I have with the game. The music is calm, slow... which sounds nice, but isn't very entertaining. It's supposed to keep us awake, but sometimes it made me feel like falling asleep while playing. Luckily there still are some fitting music during action sequences, but the whole in general isn't catchy enough, and isn't very appropriate for that type of game. And add to this the shameful voice-acting, which is completely ridiculous. Thankfully the sound department is pretty good, no problem on that side.
A short 7 to 10 hour game. A tad too simplistic and easy for older players (unless you're a really big platformer fan like myself), but kids will love it, making it a great family game. It's fun while it lasts, and there's plenty to collect.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 07/16/06, Updated 07/17/06
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