Genre: Single-Player Action Platformer
Developed by: Tate Multimedia
Expected release: Q3 Summer 2022
Platforms: Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Platform I played demo on: Windows PC
Introduction Kao the Kangaroo has been around since 2000 during the sixth generation of video games, but the last entry into the series was back in 2005- so it’s safe to say that it’s been quite some time since fans have jumped into this series. That is until now, in the ninth generation of video games, fans will be able to rejoice as Kao is making a return on consoles and Windows PC in Q3 of 2022, making it the fourth mainline entry into the series. This game is confirmed to be a reboot of the Kangaroo platformer.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to be able to play a 15-20 minute demo of the latest instalment. I have never played any of these games, so for me jumping into the series for the first time, I didn’t have any expectations or really knew what to expect. Immediately however, looking at the cover art and overall design of the level, I was instantly reminded of Crash Bandicoot, more specifically Crash Bandicoot 4. As a long time fan of the Crash Bandicoot series, this peaked my interest just a bit more, and keeping that in mind for the next 15-20 minutes I played, I made a few notes. So let’s jump in to this demo, and get a sneak peak of what to expect in Tate Multimedia’s reboot of Kao the beloved Kangaroo.
Story Anthropomorphic animals aren’t a new concept especially in video games, but for Kao the Kangaroo in it’s almighty return into the gaming world, it’s been 17 years since the last entry in 2005 – so there’s no doubt Tate Multimedia have had more time to put an emphasis and personality for each anthropomorphic character.
In this upcoming game, Kao is a fighter Kangaroo who embarks on an adventure to search for his missing sister, while also uncovering a secret about his long-lost father. Along his journey, Kao will have to combat the ‘fighting masters’ who have been succumbed by what’s known as the ‘dark power’ while being guided by his mentor, Walt.
In this portion of the demo I played, Kao is searching for something in a forest filled with punching tongue frogs, fire spitting fish, plants that will smack you off the edge and having occasional conversations with Walt. Not much else can be said about the story at this point, but it did allow me to see a variation of cinematic cut scenes, gameplay tips, different enemies to sucker punch and some small variation on platform jumping, timing and figuring out puzzles. The game, at least this section, does allow you to go off course to collect other goodies but it doesn’t appear that it’s needed to progress further into the story. From what I gather this portion may be half an hour to an hour into the actual full game. Again, this is just my speculation so I’m not certain if that’s correct, but that’s kind of the vibe that I was getting. This feels it could be the 2nd or 3rd level of the game overall (again, I could be completely way off)
Gameplay Jumping, punching, tail whipping and throwing boomerangs, this demo has showcased a variation of gameplay elements you’ll be able to do during the game. You can check out the video I put together below to see for yourself. The punching is pretty basic, but still satisfying after defeating an enemy after 3 or so punches, and the platform elements are fairly simplistic so far, but still room for error. Once you lose all of your lives, you’ll have to restart the entire level, again. A fairly standard platformer experience, so you know what to expect. The controls are easy and simple to remember, and while navigating and exploring the level, you can collect letters that spell K A O and of course collecting coins and gems. I will also note the satisfaction of being able to punch pretty much most things including other objects aside from crates including chairs, barrels, doors and tables. I really enjoyed my time smashing through everything that I could, and sometimes when I did I found extra coins so worth smashing everything that you see. I also accidently punched an innocent bystander who was giving me gameplay tips. (but I also enjoyed that too)
Soundtrack As for what you hear, it sounds mostly like xylophones and flutes. At the time of writing this I can’t find who the composer or composers are, but it does sound fine from what I heard so far. It suits the style of game and level, and if I had to make a guess I would have to assume that each level would probably get a different soundtrack to match the levels, design and aesthetic.
The game design so far feels familiar to platforms you and I have have likely played before, aside from timing your jumps and figuring out how to get to point a to b, most notably from the angel animation when you die to the colour palette, this game surely took some inspiration from Crash Bandicoot 4. The graphics are also quite smooth with no notable choppiness, frame rate issues or loading issues. Keeping in mind, I played on PC, so I can't speak for console versions, but so far it runs quite well.
Overall From my first impression, I would give this a 7/10. Obviously with only a short time I spent with the game, it’s not definitive or fair to give a full score of course, but it did peak my interest a little bit and still worth mentioning. I had fun with it, I enjoyed demolishing enemies with a few punches, and I’m wondering where the story will go from here.
I’m not sure if I would personally pre order this or jump into it right away, but for some people who enjoy 100 percenting platformers for those sweet achievements/trophies, or are long time fans of the series, this will likely be the game for you to pick up when it releases sometime in summer 2022.
Until then, that’s all the information we know. Let us know in the comments what you thought of the footage from this demo- were you impressed? Are you a long time Kao the Kangaroo fan? Does it remind you a bit of Crash Bandicoot 4 or any other platformer you’ve played? Regardless, let us know what you're thinking.