PS5 Review: Kao the Kangaroo

Will this platformer drive you hopping mad?

Join Kao on his biggest adventure yet! This time the brave kangaroo has to find his missing sister and solve the mystery of what happened to his long-gone father. He will need to travel the world and confront the famous fighting masters, who are influenced by the mysterious, dark power. On the course of his journey, Kao will learn under the guidance of his master – Walt, how to become not only an awesome fighter but also a clever one who uses his head as much as his fists.

I have to admit I hadn’t played a Kao game before this 2022 but based on what I’ve played of this new version, I wish I had. Kao the Kangaroo is a nice throwback to classic 3D platformers like Crash and Spyro while maintaining its own identity with unique mechanics that can’t be found in the others. The world and characters in it are both very likeable, especially Kao who has some funny one-liners and the script has some amusing dialogue, poking fun at modern things like social media and so on.

At its heart, Kao is still a classic 3D platformer. You go into levels and essentially collect everything you can as you make your way through it, there are also a few secret bonus areas that bump the difficulty up a notch, but not to Crash-levels of crazy difficult. Each stage also has the letters K, A and O hidden much like the K-O-N-G letters from the Donkey Kong Country series. Boss battles also pop up here and there, which are actually pretty clever in their design, and I will be remembering them for quite a while.

I was impressed with the overall polish of the game too, even the camera controls didn’t work against me, which can sometimes be an issue in some platformers. The handling of Kao is also solid, so you can’t have any fault with the game if you somehow mess up a jump or attack, it may be bad timing on your part, but I didn’t come across anything that made me think it was the game’s fault.

Trophy hunters will be pleased to know that nabbing the Platinum is pretty straightforward with you essentially having to finish the game and nabbing all the collectibles, none of which are missable.

The visuals of the game though not ground-breaking, are still charming and have that retro 3D platforming look to them. You can even play as the original Kao model from the PS2 games if you feel inclined to do so. The levels and world are well varied in design and the game runs at a solid framerate throughout, I did experience a few bugs here and there but patches since launch have definitely improved a lot of them. Voice-acting is pretty decent and like I said, the script is too.

The Verdict

Kao the Kangaroo is a great throwback to classic 3D platformers, which is one of my favourite genres. It ticks all the boxes for me and despite a few bugs is up there as one of favourite games of 2022 so far.

Score: 8.5