Kameo: Elements of Power
A new day, a new X360 review. With some delay but certainly not less important, we today take a look at the second launch game from Rare. Next to Perfect Dark Zero they had also finished Kameo: Elements of Power. A game that has been in development since the time the Nintendo64 was the top of the crop.
Kameo is a platform-action game pur sang, a genre Rare more than once shined in the past, just think of Banjo Kazooie for instance. As with any platform game worthy of that name, you need a fun main character. This time it’s up to Kameo, an elf-like daughter of the king of the Enchanted Kingdom. This kingdom, however, is being attacked by Thorn, king of the evil trolls. To make things a bit more dramatic, Kalus, the sister of Kameo, has joined the evil forces.
The game starts while you rush the castle of Thorn, in an attempt to free your captive family, but this ends badly. You almost die and loose all your special powers. You already hear me coming: you’ll have to win back all your powers to finally defeat Thorn and free your relatives. Tadaaaaa!
Of course your special powers are the Elements of Power, or so to say: the shapes and creatures you can take on with your character. These have been taken by the Shadow Trolls which you’ll have to defeat in order to regain access to 10 different shapes you can take on. The boss fights are a very nice challenge, which amongst others, explains why this game isn’t completely made for younger gamers. Handy for noobs is the Wotnot Book that gives you clues throughout the game, of course as much as you want it to do that.
Each shape you can take on offers each time a bunch of different powers, hits and possibilities that piece by piece are very original. On top of that they’re very good integrated in the puzzle part so that you’ll need to use your little grey cells now and then to find out how to conquer an obstacle. Rolling up hills, lighting trees, defeating certain adversaries: variation and originality are key.
Meanwhile, the broad offer of characters is also just plain fun as that way you can choose how to get rid of your opponents. Some examples: Major Ruin, an armadillo; Pummel Weed, the boxing plant, a gorilla with ice picks, a dragon, and so on. Your opponents also have the same variation so you won’t get too many déjà-vu feelings.
Changing between characters is very easy and also the overall controls are quite good after some practise. It does take some time before you get all your creatures to follow directions as you want them to do and also the alternative use of the triggers takes some getting used to. Luckily this quickly becomes a second nature! On top of that, after a couple of hours you’ll find your havorite characters which you can upgrade with new attacks or stronger possibilities. For that you need fruit which you can find by doing side-missions or by looking around in the surroundings. With money you can buy additional skins ore more health. That way also those that like to collect stuff get what they want!
A downpoint is the camera which needs as much manipulation as your character at times. Unfortunate that this couldn’t be done better but I have to admit that things like these bother me quite easily.
Now that we’re busy: the game isn’t extremely long either. You can of course play levels over and over again to collect stuff, unlock things and score more points, but personally that isn’t really my thing. Too bad that after so many years of development, Rare only finished this amount of levels, eventhough they’re qua design, tempo and balance between action and puzzles quite good. Don’t expect new things from the multiplayer other than those you’ve seen in the singleplayer campaign. The co-op is fun but not for long and qua Xbox Live implementation you’ve got to do with scoreboards.
Luckily everything looks extremely beautiful. That part looks like a test ride for your new console! Constantly you get colorful surroundings in which more happens than you can follow. Think here of clattering water, grass moving by the wind, hundreds of enemies fighting amongst each other, beautiful special effect (all you can think of: particle, light and schadow, filters, bullet-time etcetera) and of course spontaneuos and charmingly animated models. If you hook this up on an HDTV you’ll realise just how good this game is graphically and that it won’t disappoint anyone in this part.
We did expect a bit that the graphics would be great, after all it’s an X360 game, but also the sound is quite good. The soundtrack is very tasteful and perfectly fits the game, supporting the atmosphere where necessary, going louder when needed. Also the effects are well done and the subtlety of them is a result of the care all sounds were created with.
Kameo: Elements of Power is more than a good platform game with fantastic finishing and built on strong fundaments. The gameplay is very much ok and both the graphics and sound make a nice whole of it all. Too bad that the long development time wasn’t enough to make an epic adventure of it and people with sky-high expectations might be disappointed by the lack of replayability and content. Nonetheless a beautiful game that shows the power of the X360 and that will give you no doubt the necessary fun.