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Kao the Kangaroo review

Kao the Kangaroo Review

If you’re a fan of classic 3D platforming, then Kao the Kangaroo is for you.

There’s a chance you’re already familiar with Kao (pronounced ‘K.O.’ rather than ‘cow’). This platforming marsupial actually had a trilogy of games between 2000 and 2005. But as is the current trend, he’s been revived by way of a series reboot. Maybe if you loved Kao the Kangaroo back in the day, you’ll find a greater affinity with this latest entry to the series. But if you’re not familiar with his antics, don’t worry; 2022’s Kao the Kangaroo is a standalone game, self-contained with its own story.

Not that you’ll care much about the story, mind. He’s on a quest to track down his missing father, but thanks to irritating voice acting, it’s all too easy to hit the skip button on any cutscenes that pop up. But it’s the gameplay that matters the most here, of course, and we’re pleased to say it’s top notch.

The full checklist of ‘3D Platformer Must Haves’ has been ticked off here. Endless collectibles? Check. Engaging boss fights? Check. Sprawling levels with secrets to uncover? Check. On-rails sections? Check. Funny costumes to buy and wear? Check. In other words, Kao the Kangaroo isn’t particularly original. But is that a problem? Not really: this is a game that knows exactly what it is, and it doesn’t try to dress up as anything else. It’s classic 3D platforming, and it’s good enough to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best.

It looks absolutely fantastic, for one. Kao the Kangaroo‘s action is split over different hub worlds, each with several levels branching off from it. You’ll probably spend anywhere between 20-30 minutes in a level, maybe longer. Run straight through and you’ll be done quicker, of course, but with so many collectibles (K-A-O letters, gems, coins and scrolls) it’s worth poking around every nook and cranny. The bold, clean art style looks wonderful, making exploring a joy. Like most games in the genre, it suffers from the odd duff camera angle; move into a tight space and you might find yourself staring straight into a wall, for example. But it’s not bad enough to be a persistent problem.

Related: The Best Platform Games on PS4

Movement feels good, too. Kao has a number of skills up his sleeve, which you’ll get introduced to piecemeal. Starting with running and double-jumping, you’ll eventually be introduced to climbing ledges, hanging with your ears (oh yes, really!), swinging over gaps and more. Button presses are always responsive, and you know that if you mess up a jump you’ve only got yourself to blame.

Kao the Kangaroo

Thankfully, if that does happen, checkpoints are rather lenient. They’re scattered generously through levels, so if you fall (or get knocked out by an enemy) you won’t have to re-tread much ground. Should you run out of lives however, you’ll find yourself right back at the beginning of a level, which can be frustrating. The good news is that any collectibles you picked up will still be yours, so you don’t have to worry about hunting them out again.

This is the sort of game that’s easy-going, relaxing and enjoyable to play. You don’t need to think too much about it; simply turn the game on, switch yourself off and enjoy. And right now, that’s something we all need more of in our lives. If you’re looking for a platforming game that breaks the mould, this isn’t it. But if you simply want a solid entry into the genre, one that sticks to the rules but does so with finesse, you’ll love Kao the Kangaroo.

Kao the Kangaroo Review – GameSpew’s Score

Kao the Kangaroo review score

This review of Kao the Kangaroo is based on the PS4 version (played on PS5) via a code provided by the publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.

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