Kao the kangaroo – review. An example book of wasted potential

A breath of nostalgia

The first Kao Kangaroo debuted in 2000 – and it was the absolute best production in its price range. Kao’s kangaroo was thrown into magazines for less than 10 zlotys shortly after its premiere. For a game from a slot kiosk, it really made an incredible impression and captured the hearts of all Poles at a rapid pace. In the following years there were other episodes with a kangaroo in the main role, such as the sequel with the subtitle Round 2 or – considered by many to be the best – Kao Challengers, which we could play on the iconic PlayStation Portable.

Due to the release time of the first two installments of the series, they were very close to me during my childhood. It seems to me that Kao’s Kangaroo is the first game I’ve ever played – and it’s possible that because of this I idealized this production in my head. Kao is finally back – and on virtually every platform possible, as you can play the production on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S and Nintendo Switch. But I think nostalgia is one of the reasons I feel so bitter after playing the new role.

First of all. Let’s start with the plot

The plot in the newest Kangaroo Kao the plot mainly focuses on finding the main character’s sister, and at the same time solving the mystery of the father’s departure. In order to discover all its secrets, Kao sets off on a journey through different lands, during which he will be forced to face enemies and overcome platforming elements. During the whole trip, we will be accompanied by our mentor, the koala bear Walt, and boxing gloves that belonged to our father, which have a mysterious power. It all sounds pretty good, but in practice it’s amazing…bland. After all, Kao is a platformer, so it’s mostly meant to defend itself with gameplay – after all, even big names like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon or Super Mario Bros. nor do they dazzle with their history. Exactly, there is only one problem…

Gameplay, i.e. secondary and monotonous

Unfortunately, Kao the Kangaroo does not defend himself in the game in any way. The production offers incredibly secondary gameplay that can bore the player after 20 minutes of play. Platforming elements? They are, but they’re just jumping on barrels or other platforms and dodging water or a little acid. Struggle? It is, but it’s all about mashing a button and watching the same animation over and over again. From time to time we can make a finisher, for which we use a different button on the pad, but it’s also always the same animation. Riddles or another variety? They come in the form of hitting the tiles and laying out the appropriate pattern or collecting the element for the gloves – thanks to which we can break the boards with a shot or turn the water into an ice platform. However, everything is accompanied by an animation image, so the whole thing leaves an incredibly bitter aftertaste and in fact does not diversify the gameplay in any way.

Kao the kangaroo simply suffers from a lack of creativity. The pinnacle of gameplay is spinning and hitting flying flies in the air by simply jumping and clicking the kick button – that’s just not enough. The boss fights are equally bland – they’re surprisingly easy, extremely predictable, and just plain lacking in creativity. 1996’s Crash Bandicoot had much more elaborate boss fights.

Lots of mistakes

Kao the kangaroo is also a whole bunch of mistakes. Broken camera work that goes inside walls, scratched object models, or horrible animations that don’t like to read. Throughout the game we can find lots of jugs with parts hidden inside – and sometimes you can actually see them breaking, but other times the parts fall out, and nothing happens to the item that simply disappears in seconds. These are notorious situations that you just can’t turn a blind eye to. Equally annoying, the mission name was often “QUEST NAME” – reminiscent of cheap games where “return” is displayed instead of “return”.

Kao the Kangaroo feels like the early access version of a cheap game

Throughout the game, I felt like I was playing Early Access or a full demo that would give me an idea of ​​what the end result would be like. Such early access, which will be left by the developers for a year, so that it can be released after fixing bugs and expanding the gameplay with new elements. Aside from the problem of errors and redundancy, Kao’s Kangaroo doesn’t even have decent dialogue – we’ll only hear character voices in the main scenes of the movie. If we approach any character for a conversation, we will only encounter the wall… well, the text badge. The visuals aren’t special either – you can see up close that all the models are angular and the textures are blurry. Kao’s kangaroo doesn’t really look like a finished product.

An example book of wasted potential

The saddest part, however, is that this game is full of potential. You can see inspiration from the biggest brands at every step – and that’s what hurts the most. During the game, you can see what this game could have looked like – so you can see that it could meet the expectations of fans who have a nostalgic approach to the series, and attract a lot of new young players.

This project could not only light a fire in the hearts of gamers who remember this series launched more than 20 years ago, but also had the potential to be a springboard for Tate Multimedia and take another Polish studio to the tops. This IP could be a real goldmine and the start of Kao’s Kangaroo revival – after all, it’s a great tool for publishing many games, even a racing game like Crash Team Racing or co-op games such as Fortnite or Fall Guys.

Missed target

Throughout the gameplay, I felt that Tate Multimedia was a bit lost. This game is a book example of a simple children’s platform game for pennies – not very ambitious, not particularly polished, generally not special, but colorful and easy. On the other hand, I am convinced that no child will reach this position – Kao Kangaroo has not yet entered the consciousness of the current generation and for young players, intellectual property means nothing. We knew that the main audience will be slightly older people who played the first episodes of the series years ago on PC or Dreamcaster.

It also shows an unambitious approach to the project. All the genre names mentioned above are productions that give equal pleasure to children and adults. Kao’s kangaroo just doesn’t seem to have an idea for itself – and even a relatively low price range, in the form of around 150 PLN, does not defend this production. I write this with enormous heartache, but I wouldn’t pay more for a game of this quality than for a newsstand magazine or breakfast cereal.

A missed opportunity

I’m afraid we can still say goodbye to Kangaroo Kao. The opportunity to revive these kind of brands happens once in a generation – so we have to wait another 20 years, and maybe someone will decide to issue another reboot, this time successful. Unless Tate Multimedia jumps to conclusions and tries its luck again in a while – which I wish everyone, including myself. However, I fear that the confidence of the players will be seriously damaged.

I’m really sorry it all turned out like this. Huge expectations, high hopes, lots of memories – and that’s probably the worst nostalgia for developers and gamers. I really hope that Kao can come back to grace, because she deserves it like no one else. I wish I could line up a kangaroo with a blue hedgehog, a zebrafish, a purple dragon, and a mustachioed plumber one day.

Kao the kangaroo – advantages and disadvantages

advantages

  • A breath of nostalgia
  • Relatively low price

the lessers

  • Secondary game
  • Lots of mistakes
  • Horrible animations
  • No creativity
  • ugly textures
  • Dialogue outside the main scenes, or rather the absence thereof
  • wasted potential

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