Kao the Kangaroo: Round 2 Review

A vanishing breed of game has been the "E" rated title. Publishers often spend most of their development funds on shooters or action-adventure titles which garner them the "T" or "M" ratings. As a result, the field for family oriented games is sometimes very sparse or extremely limited.

With this said, Atari has entered the "E" category of games with Kao the Kangaroo: Round 2. If you have played any platformers, or are a fan of this game genre, you will feel many instances of deja vu, or the experience of being there before. Kao seems to draw from many predecessors of successful platform titles. You,ll see elements of Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Haven: Call of the King, Kya, Ratchet and Clank, and others spread throughout the title. Your level of tolerance for familiarity will determine how you feel about the game.

Gameplay is simple and straightforward. Your mission as Kao the Kangaroo is to free your fellow creatures from the evil hunter Barnaba, who routinely captures and cages the citizens of your world. At your disposal are a variety of items that aid in the quest to defeat enemies, bosses and baddies. Kao,s primary way of offense is through melee fighting. Secondary methods involve throwing objects such as boomerangs and huge acorns. During the quest to free the citizens of the forest and other venues in the game, Kao will also utilize various modes of transportation such as boats, snowboards, rafts, animals and flying helmets.

The game offers an impressive 21 levels to explore. Each level is unique in its own theme and provides a good deal of variety in platform play. The bosses are challenging and sometimes appear to be undefeatable, but a little thinking and experimentation will get you through the battles. As stated before, many elements of the game are borrowed from other titles. There is a classic chase mode in which a bear is in heavy pursuit of Kao. The camera action is coming towards you and mimics the style of the Crash Bandicoot series. The action is fast and furious but seasoned veterans should have no problems finishing these areas. As the game progresses, Kao increases his abilities to do certain things. Early in the game, Kao gains the ability to jump and glide through the air. This game has many rudiments which will involve the timing of jumps, solving physical puzzles, fighting off enemies, and running the gauntlet of obstacle courses and escaping from enemies.

Collecting coins, crystals and stars are reminiscent of the Spyro the Dragon series and the Super Mario games. Again, the gamer will feel a strong sense of having played certain portions before. The game levels are balanced, and offer a relaxing, entertaining gaming experience. There never seems to be any rush to finish any particular level and you,ll be able to play the game at a leisurely pace. Each level has specific goals to accomplish, with many mini-game sections as well. The mini-games are comical and entertaining. The little tasks and assignments add to the variety to the game and breaks up the linear aspect of Kao. Some of the areas of the game can be unlocked, depending on the number of special objects that are collected during the game. Saves can occur anywhere within the game, which is a nice feature for younger players or those who have little patience. Fortunately, there are also checkpoints in the game as well.

The graphics in Kao are very good. The artists have packed this title with bright primary colors that will jump out at you throughout the game. The setting and environment changes from level to level serve as great eye candy. Animation sequences are smooth and the game camera rarely gets in the way of character movement. The framerate is steady and rock solid.

Sound is about average, with very sparse music found in the game. While there are simple tunes, the music seems to have been an afterthought to the title. A better musical score for Kao would have really added more depth to the gaming experience, but more often than not, the simple tunes do not do justice to the various scenes in the game. It’s not a big issue, but one that does affect the overall game. The voice acting is cartoony. You’ll notice that Kao never quite gets his Australian accent down pat. The other voice acting is in league with any children’s cartoon show.

Kao the Kangaroo: Round 2 is an interesting hybrid of many platformer attributes, and this may or may not bother some individuals. Gamers who are die-hard platformers will most likely write this game off as a rehash of what has been done before. But what must be said is that while many elements are familiar, the way these elements are put together is entertaining and fun. The best way to enjoy this game is to appreciate it on its own merits without becoming too cynical about the recognizable aspects of the title.

Children will also love this game as it offers a good deal of action, adventure, puzzles, boss battles, talking animals, and deeply beautiful scenery. While Kao the Kangaroo: Round 2, is in no way a ground breaking game, it does offer a pleasant experience to gamers who will enjoy a game that brings back memories of past platformers.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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