Despite its confusing mechanics, it’s still a nice, solid 3D platformer game with item collecting and unique bosses as its focus.
Genre: Platformer, Action Adventure
Developer: Tate Multimedia
Publisher: Tate Multimedia
Release date: 1 Jun, 2019
Kao the Kangaroo: Round 2 (2003 re-release) is a 3D platformer game where you control Kao, a Kangaroo, to go on a journey to save its friends. Seeing that a new Kao game is in the works, I think that now is a good time to check how good this game is, especially since I have never played it before.
It’s not much of a surprise to see that the graphics are outdated. Loading screens look blurry and character models are not detailed – the main character even looks like an oversized bunny with a long tail than a kangaroo. However, they are still nice to look at if you don’t mind with the small details although some areas are too dark that I had to increase my screen’s brightness to play it.
Perhaps it’s because the game was a continuation of another game, which is not available on Steam, but I didn’t get the story at first. The story becomes clearer later on and even if you don’t get it, there isn’t much story to begin with. The story only has “defeat a bad guy” as its focus and everything revolves around it. Most dialogues are dubbed although they talk very slowly with a long delay between dialogues – it’s such a pain to wait for each cutscene to finish.
The game starts very simple with the normal platforming section: you walk through the level, killing all enemies and collecting any collectibles you can find. There is also a tutorial on how to throw an item although strangely, the game never gives a clear tutorial about other mechanics. There were times where I got stuck because I didn’t know what to do, whether if it’s because of the vague instruction or the lack of information.
The game seems to be focused on item collecting. There are 3 collectibles that you can find across the levels. Collecting them is optional, although you can learn a new skill or unlock a minigame if you manage to collect a number of them. You don’t have to worry if you don’t manage to collect everything in one run – you only need to replay the level to collect the missing ones since the game saved your progress right after you get them. Checkpoints are also provided in each level so you can always return to the previous checkpoint if you think you’re missing some collectibles and don’t want to replay the level for it.
Attacking can be done in three different ways: rolling, punching, and stomping. You also can execute another attack variation from the first two by jumping although the latter one must be executed with it. All attacks have their strength and weakness that can be utilized for different types of enemies. The best part is that you still can defeat all enemies with any attacks although some attacks might be risky to use for certain enemies, resulting in you taking damage in the process.
Boss levels are available every ~5 levels and you need to learn their attack pattern to beat them. Beating most bosses are easy as long as you know what to do, even if you try to beat them without taking any damage.
Most minigames are unlocked by collecting a certain amount of items. The others will be available on the main levels. The first ones are pointless though since there is no reward for completing them, not to mention that they’re boring to play. However, I do enjoy the minigames on the main levels. Not only they are easy to learn, but they also give a sense of accomplishment since they are not endless like the other ones.
Length and Difficulty
I finished the game at 9.5h with everything unlocked and collected, including the achievements. The game isn’t hard to complete although collecting everything might be tricky since some collectibles are hidden very well. However, the underwater level was troublesome to navigate due to its controls and you might need to rebind the controls a bit since the default controls heavily rely on using your left hand. Strangely, the game seems to be best played on a controller despite it originally released for PC.
Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
Despite the confusing mechanics, it’s still a solid platformer game. Each level gives a unique feel with a lot of areas to explore; it’s fun exploring the areas to make sure that I didn’t miss anything. Some parts of the game might be lacking and the graphics might not be that great due to old age, but there are still some charms about the game. It is also cheap enough on a sale which I think is a good deal for the playtime and enjoyment it offers.