Growing up I was a huge fan of 3D platformers. The late 1990s through the mid 2000s were basically the golden age for the genre. It was arguably the most popular video game genre which lead to quite a few new franchises being created. Some of these franchises are still going strong today, while others have been kind of forgotten. One of these later franchises was Kao the Kangaroo. I vaguely remember hearing about the game when it first came out, but I never actually played it. The franchise ended up being mildly successful as it received a few sequels. Its last game was released back in 2006 though.
Sixteen years later Kao the Kangaroo has finally made its return. The game was developed by the same studio that made the original Kao the Kangaroo games, Tate Multimedia. Fans of the franchise are probably excited to see it return. As I have never played any of the other games in the franchsie, I was more interested in it just being a 3D platformer. 3D platformers aren’t nearly as popular as they once were, so I am always interested in checking out a new game in the genre especially when it looks like a lot of effort went into making it. Despite little familiarity with the franchise, I still had pretty high expectations for Kao the Kangaroo. Kao the Kangaroo is a great reminder of what was so enjoyable about the golden age of 3D platformers, even if it may be on the easier side.
In Kao the Kangaroo you play as the title character Kao. Kao’s father recently went missing. His sister recently left home to try to find their father, and has gone missing as well. When Kao finds a pair of magical boxing gloves, he is determined to use them to find his sister and father. An evil force known as the Eternal Warrior is corrupting the world. Kao must defeat the Eternal Warrior if he has any hope of reuniting his family.
Any fan of the 3d platformer genre will feel right at home with Kao the Kangaroo. The game takes a lot of inspiration from the 2000s era of 3D platformers. The platforming is probably the game’s greatest emphasis. Like all platformers the objective is to use your jump to move between platforms and avoid falling down gaps. You are given a double jump and a number of other abilities to help with this task. The ultimate goal of each level is to reach the end before you run out of health.
Kao the Kangaroo also has a pretty big emphasis on combat. Being a kangaroo with a pair of boxing gloves, it is not surprising that the game focuses on melee combat. The combat mostly relies on button mashing as you only use one button to punch. When you hit enough enemies in a row you can also unlock a special attack that deals additional damage. There is also a dodge/roll which you can use to avoid enemy attacks.
Finally the game has a sort of puzzle element. As you advance in the game your gloves will acquire new abilities. This allows you to control different elements such as fire and ice. These are combined with the platforming mechanics to create occasional puzzles that you need to solve in order to get past an obstacle that stands in your way.
Kao the Kangaroo is divided into a set of overworld locations with each having their own set of levels. To unlock new levels you will have to acquire enough tablets/gems. These can be found in the levels and hidden in the overworld locations.
While I am a big fan of 3D platformers, I didn’t know exactly what to expect from Kao the Kangaroo. I had never played any of the previous games from the series. The good news is that Kao the Kangaroo feels like more of a reboot for the franchise, rather than a sequel or a remaster of the original games. You don’t have to worry about having not played any of the previous games to still enjoy the newest game.
With that said, I was actually kind of surprised by Kao the Kangaroo. I thought it was going to be a pretty good 3D platformer, as it seemed to have a sense of polish that you don’t see from a lot of indie platformers. The game is not perfect. As soon as I started playing, it felt like I was brought back to the golden age of 3D platformers.
It is obvious that Kao the Kangaroo was inspired by the era of 3D platformers that came out around the time as the original games. I will be honest and say that the game doesn’t do anything particularly original. Much of the game feels like it would have fit right in with most early 2000s 3D platformers. If you are looking for a game to revolutionize the genre, Kao the Kangaroo is not going to be it.
While I wish the game could have been a little more original at times, this isn’t a huge problem. The game succeeds because it focuses on what made the 3D platformer genre so enjoyable in its heyday. I had a blast playing Kao the Kangaroo.
I think a lot of this can be attributed to the game’s controls. The game’s controls are quite responsive. The jumping feels right. When you fail it is going to be your own fault. The combat is surprisingly satisfying as well. It is kind of simple as you can mostly just button mash. The combat is not an afterthought though as it is enjoyable fighting the enemies.
Simply put if you are a fan of the “mascot” era of 3D platformers, I think you will really enjoy Kao the Kangaroo. It kind of feels like it was taken from that era of video games. It was given a new coat of paint and some quality of life improvements. Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of the genre, I still think you could have a lot of fun. As a fan of 3D platformers, I would say that Kao the Kangaroo is one of the better games released for the genre in the last couple of years.
I really enjoyed playing Kao the Kangaroo. Probably the biggest issue I had with it is just the fact that it is not a particularly difficult game. I have played a lot of 3D platformers though, so that could have played a role. If you play a lot of 3D platformers, I think you will likely find the game to be pretty easy. I attribute this to a couple of factors.
First while fun, the platforming is not overly challenging. The game is pretty forgiving with the platforming. It doesn’t really rely on you having perfect jumps in order to move between platforms. As long as you are decently accurate with your jump, you should have no trouble with the platforming.
The other reason is the fact that the game is quite forgiving with your health. The game uses a heart system. Every time you get hit by an enemy or a danger you will lose one heart. If you run out of hearts, you lose a life and restart at the last checkpoint. You will regularly pick up hearts, so you don’t really have to worry about occasionally losing health. Checkpoints are rather frequent as well. The biggest contributor is the fact that you can significantly increase your amount of hearts throughout the game. If you are thorough searching each level looking for the collectibles and picking up a lot of coins, you will receive plenty of heart pieces which will increase your overall health. Towards the end of the game I had so much health that I rarely even came close to dying.
I ultimately had mixed feelings about Kao the Kangaroo’s difficulty. I wish it was a little more challenging as I think I lost a couple lives at most throughout the entire game. If you are looking for a challenging 3D platformer, you will likely be disappointed by the game. At the same time the easier difficulty does increase the potential audience for the game. You don’t have to be a huge 3D platformer fan to still have fun with the game. The easier difficulty will also make the game more appealing to children. I think children could really enjoy Kao the Kangaroo.
As for the game’s length, I am not going to be able to give you a definitive length for a couple of reasons. How much time you get from the game is going to depend on whether you are the type of player that likes to try and find all of the hidden collectibles. Someone that wants to find all of the collectibles will naturally take quite a bit longer than someone just focused on beating each level. The game consists of four main worlds. Each world has an overworld to explore and find collectibles. They also have three main levels as well as a boss fight.
This might not sound like a lot. I was impressed that each of the levels are quite a bit longer than I expected. If you take your time trying to find the collectibles, most will take at least a half hour to beat. The levels are quite large and there is a lot to do to beat each of them. While I naturally wish the game was longer as I was really enjoying it, I found the length to be satisfying enough.
As for the game’s story, theme, and atmosphere; you mostly get what you would expect from the genre. I was pretty impressed with the game’s visuals. The style of the game feels reminsicent of the era that it originally came from, but with improvements from better technology. The game has a cartoony style, but it really works for the game. It may not reach the level of some AAA games, but you won’t be disappointed by the quality of the visuals.
As for Kao the Kangaroo’s story, I found it to be solid but unspectacular. The story feels more gauged towards children than adults. It is enjoyable enough, but it can be kind of cheesy at times. Basically it is enjoyable enough that you want to see how it ends, but I wouldn’t call it a selling point for the game.
For a game franchise that has been gone for 16 years, I was genuinely surprised by how well the new Kao the Kangaroo turned out. The game was clearly inspired by the early 2000s era of 3D platformers. While it isn’t the most original game, it otherwise is exactly what you would expect from this genre. It is a great reminder of why I still enjoy the genre so many years later. The controls are responsive and the gameplay is really fun. Kao the Kangaroo is on the easy side. Otherwise it is everything that you could want from a franchise that hasn’t received a new game in over a decade and a half.
If you don’t like 3D platformers or need them to be really challenging, Kao the Kangaroo may not be for you. Otherwise I would highly recommend picking up Kao the Kangaroo as it really reminded me of why I have always been a big fan of 3D platformers.
Kao the Kangaroo
Release Date: May 27th, 2022 | Systems: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Developer: Tate Multimedia | Publisher: Tate Multimedia | ESRB Rating: E10+ for Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence, Comic Mischief
Genres: Action, Platformer
Official Website: https://kaokangaroo.com/
- A great homage to the golden era of 3D platformers.
- Fun gameplay supported by responsive controls.
- On the easier side especially for fans of the genre.
- Doesn’t do anything highly original to distinguish itself from other games in the genre.
Recommendation: For fans of 3D platformers reminiscent of the early 2000s era of the genre.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Tate Multimedia for the review copy of Kao the Kangaroo used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.