Kao the Kangaroo (Switch) Review
The 90s and 2000s were prime time for Aussie animals in video games. After Naughty Dog struck gold with Crash Bandicoot, his success was chased by the likes of Croc, Ty the Tasmanian tiger and even a title starring Taz of Looney Tunes fame. And if you were really plugged into the digital marsupial zeitgeist of 2000 there was Kao the kangaroo. And he’s just hopped onto the Switch!
Kao the Kangaroo is a reboot of the 22-year-old franchise developed by Polish (surprisingly not Australian) studio Tate Multimedia. Following a 17 year hiatus Kao is back on the scene for another shot at platforming glory, following Aussie animal remasters such as Crash Bandicoot’s N. Sane Trilogy and Ty the Tasmanian Tiger HD.
The new Kao the Kangaroo sees Kao on another adventure after his sister disappears chasing up the mystery of their long-lost father Toby. The adventure takes Kao to a variety of colourful locales in search of his family members in hopes of solving an even greater mystery.
As you traverse the world that Kao inhabits you’ll be faced with platforming challenges akin to the popular platformers of the old days. And Kao the Kangaroo feels like it could be a game straight out of 2003, if not a remaster of a game from the same time period. It really does play like an old Gamecube game with some modern textures and lighting.
And the game harkens back to video games of the sixth generation in more ways than one. Kao the Kangaroo is reminiscent of games that were released before post-release patches were abundantly available. On release, there are more glitches than I could count. Models disappearing and reappearing without reason, music and sound effects playing or not playing depending on the day, plus voice acting that ain’t glitchy by definition, but is right in line with the game-defining glitches. The platforming itself is also kinda shabby, and jumping around levels leaves a lot to be desired if you’ve played any polished 3D platformer in the last three decades.
Ultimately, Kao the Kangaroo doesn’t feel like a game released in 2022. But I didn’t hate my time with it. I love the platformers of yesteryear, and Kao the Kangaroo reminds me of a time before a game’s faults couldn’t simply be patched the first day after release and you had to adapt. While there’s nothing gamebreaking here, I do hope Kao the Kangaroo receives a hefty patch in the near future.
Kao the Kangaroo’s first outing in years is fun but not without fault. As nice as it is to see an old platforming IP with a new release on the Switch, the game shouldn’t be at the top of your list. But if you’re a fan of the genre, take Kao the Kangaroo with a grain of salt, and you may have some fun.
+ Return of an old-school IP
+ Fun, platforming action
+ Colourful characters and locales
- More glitches than you can shake a stick at
- Sloppy voice acting
- Iffy platforming