After more than 20 years since his debut, a new Kao The Kangaroo game has arrived. Developed by Tate Multimedia, the brand-new game sees the return of the titular kangaroo in all of his platform glory, but is Kao The Kangaroo worth it? Find out by reading our review, which will touch on the game’s story, graphics, gameplay, length, and our overall opinion.
Note: We played Kao The Kangaroo on PlayStation 5 with a review code supplied by Tate Multimedia.
Like the platforms that inspired it, Kao The Kangaroo is light on storytelling but follows Kao as he embarks on a search to find his sister Kaia and father Koby. The journey sees Kao travel across several distinctive worlds to face numerous enemies and legendary fighting masters with the help of mentor Walt, a pair of enchanted gloves, and best friend and inventor, Gadget. Along the way, Kao will also uncover the truth behind the mysterious entity known as the Eternal Warrior and its connection to Kao’s boxing gloves.
Although the story isn’t groundbreaking or does anything new for the gaming medium, it’s incredibly wholesome and without doom and bloom, and it highlights the importance of family and friendship, making it great for anyone looking for a more chilled experience (Needed after some recent heavy hitters – we’re looking at you, Elden Ring and Horizon Forbidden West!) or something to play with the kids.
Like similar platformer games, Kao The Kangaroo is bright and colourful and looks similar to an animated children’s cartoon. While its visuals aren’t as detailed or as visually stunning to look at when compared to Insomniac Games’ Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, the game’s still a joy to look at. What’s more, each world in the game has its own distinct biome, offering unique and drastically different visuals, whether that’s Kao’s warm homeworld of Hopalloo Island, the cold, spa-themed Frozen Mountains, the tropical Hungry Jungle, or the spooky funfair of Eternal Isle.
Unlike most other modern-day games, Kao The Kangaroo does not have any graphics settings, at least not on the PlayStation. However, we rarely saw any framerate drops, even when levels became increasingly busy with multiple enemies, visual effects, moving platforms, and more. Overall, Kao The Kangaroo doesn’t opt for realistic graphics or highly-detailed visuals, but it’s still a pleasure to look at.
Kao The Kangaroo is a puzzle-platformer at heart, and the majority of the game will see you run through numerous levels branching from a main base world to collect Runes to unlock additional levels before facing the world’s boss. There are no skill trees or upgrades, but there are elemental power-ups you can find throughout levels to help you solve puzzles. Simply, the game requires you to platform, avoid obstacles, solve puzzles, and face enemies, all of which are unique to each world excluding the final world, where everything you face comes together in one final hurrah.
Similarly to Crash Bandicoot, there are various crates you can smash to collect coins, as well as numerous pots, barrels, training dummies, snowmen, and more. These coins can be used to purchase additional lives, heart pieces for extra health, and outfits and accessories for Kao, which includes a skin based on his 2001 debut appearance. Levels are incredibly linear, but will often feature branching pathways that lead to some of the game’s many collectables or bonus areas, known as Eternal Wells. The Eternal Wells are filled with additional collectables and numerous traps and other obstacles you’ll need to avoid to reach the end to claim your coins and gems.
Levels are filled with a slew of other collectables too, including treasure chests crammed with coins, scrolls with lore on the world of Kao The Kangaroo, gems, and three letters that spell out Kao’s name. Unfortunately, the majority of these collectables offered nothing in terms of rewards, which made them feel pointless to collect, particularly in the late game where some force you to go out into harm’s way and potentially die to collect.
The boss fights are simple in design but each requires you to solve a puzzle to stun the boss and deal damage. Each boss consists of multiple phases too in which they gain new attacks and new puzzles are set up to keep you on your toes. Some boss fights also involve taking on regular enemies, but it’s never enough to frustrate you.
Length: How Long Is Kao The Kangaroo?
Since Kao The Kangaroo primarily targets a younger audience, the game isn’t very long. We managed to complete the main campaign, meaning all levels, as well as several Eternal Wells in around five hours. However, we missed out on numerous collectables, and if you’re striving to grab everything within the game and complete all main and bonus levels, that runtime can probably extend to up to 10 hours. The game isn’t very long, but that’s rather refreshing in today’s industry where most games take dozens to hundreds of hours to complete and platinum.
Summary: Our Thoughts
Kao The Kangaroo isn’t without its faults. We ran into some issues with overly loose controls causing us to fall from platforms, along with some questionable voice acting and sound effects, but the game was simply fun to play. Kao makes for a great callback to the classic platforming games that were released throughout the 90s and early 2000s; there are puzzles to solve, platforming, secrets to uncover, collectables to find, and bosses to face. We particularly enjoyed taking on the game’s four bosses, and some of the game’s more unique run-at-the-screen levels, such as skating down a mountain to avoid an avalanche or platforming over a winding river while escaping from an enemy on a log.
The game’s story shines, providing you with a heartwarming narrative that focuses on family, and something many of the younger generation can learn from. For adults, the game’s lack of a deep or moody narrative, as well as its simplistic gameplay, provides you with a chilled experience, and a game you can easily dip in and out of without having to worry about plot points, checking off areas on a map, climbing towers, or completing dozens of missions. You simply load up a level and complete it, with most clearable within 20 to 30 minutes of playtime depending on how thorough you are.
In short, Kao The Kangaroo is a great platformer and worth it for someone who’s looking for a game to play with their kids or for someone looking for a short and sweet experience you can dip in and out of whenever you’re in the mood for a quick gaming session. We enjoyed our time with Kao The Kangaroo and hope to embark on another journey with the marsupial soon.
Kao The Kangaroo is available now for PC, Nintendo Switch, and all PlayStation and Xbox consoles.
Does Kao The Kangaroo have any microtransactions?
No! Kao The Kangaroo does not have any microtransactions. All of the cosmetics found within the game can be bought by the coins you collect naturally throughout the game.
Where can I play Kao The Kangaroo?
Kao The Kangaroo is available now for PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store, Nintendo Switch, and all PlayStation and Xbox consoles.
Do I need to have played the previous Kao The Kangaroo games to play this one?
Nope! The brand-new Kao The Kangaroo is effectively a reboot of the entire series, meaning you can simply jump into the game without having played previous titles.