ADD Gamers – Game Review
By: Luke Harris
Game: Kameo: Elements of Power
It’s a RARE find.
Letter Grade: B
+ Fun, varied gameplay.
+ Great graphics.
+ Excellent looking water.
+ Good music and voice acting.
+ Tons of puzzles.
- Very little replay value.
- Too short.
- Only one difficulty mode…
- …Which is too easy.
A few years ago, RARE made its last game for Nintendo. It was the so-so Starfox Adventures. It’s a shame that they left, because they’ve made some of my favorite games… Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Perfect Dark, Goldeneye… And with the release of the less-than-good game Perfect Dark Zero, I wasn’t really expecting much from Kameo, also being that it was a launch game. I guess that a game coming from the king of platformers, I should have been wrong. I was. Kameo was a load of fun, and excellent to look at while playing.
The game starts out by patting you on the butt and sending you straight into battle. You have four forms at this point: Your cute little elf self, a yeti with some mean spikes, an armadillo that looks like a pig, and a plant that could bite off Mike Tyson’s ear. Each of these forms is completely unique and will be used to solve the endless torrent of enemies and puzzles that come your way. Don’t be fooled from the first few minutes though. I was way off. I thought this was a third person action game, and you only had those three transformations. Boy howdy, it’s not like that at all.
The story is very simple. After pulling an epic Samus Aran maneuver, you lose your powers and have to get them back from these ghastly figures called Shadow Trolls. Your sister, Kalus has teamed up with the Troll king, Thorn, (looks like a familiar Orc from the Warcraft series to me) and is gonna do something really bad. Your obvious objective is to stop the duo.
This game believe it or not is an RPG. Enemies have HP that is displayed when they take damage, you complete quests for rewards, there are upgradeable attacks, and so on. And it’s not just those three transformations you get. You get 10, count ‘em, 10 different forms, not including your little elf form with dragonfly wings. And all of them are completely different. None of them even look the same. There are two of each element, Plant, fire, ice, water and rock, and despite the similar elements, they are all completely different. My favorite being the upgraded Thermite. (evil laughter)
The game is filled up with a million puzzles. Some of them are very quick and spontaneous, while others are “go here, do this, go through your newly opened door”. Some of them involved thinking very hard about your current situation. Unfortunately, the Watnot, a book with a wizard trapped inside of it, never shuts up, and thirty seconds into a puzzle, he’ll tell you how to solve it in excruciating detail. Just a small hint would be nice. And you better talk to him, because he won’t shut up until you do. “You need a hint, talk to me!” “You look like you need some help!” Even if you’ve got the boss down to half his health, he’ll still tell you how to fight it with every possible detail.
Speaking of details, this game is ripe full of them. There is beautiful lighting and bump-mapping everywhere. There are very nice particle effects, fire looks excellent, and things get blurry as they get further and further away. And the water in this game is gorgeous. If the water in my bathtub were this pretty, I’d never get out of it. The lip-syncing is good, and the facial expressions are excellent. There are several times in the game where the field is LITTERED with hundreds, if not over a thousand enemies fighting each other at once, and there is not a second of slowdown. Not one frame out of rate. And yes, you can join in the fight and kill them all if you want. (Upgraded Thermite, ftw).
The only flaws in this game are in the long-term effects. It’s short…very short. I didn’t get the exact time, but my guess is 5-6 hours. I picked it up Saturday afternoon, I beat it the next day at 4:30-ish. And yes, I did play other games and leave the TV in that time. There is only one difficulty setting, which is unfortunately, very easy. The puzzles never took a lot of hard-thought, and only the few bosses were any difficult. It’s harder to throw an enemy with Snare than to beat the final boss. There is a co-op mode, but it’s only fast if you’ve beaten that part of the game already, which doesn’t offer anything new. There is minor incentive to do Time attack, but all you get are points to beat the single-player game you just beat.
This is a recommended game for all who love pretty, fun, and color platformers, but not for anyone who wants a long-term relationship with this cute little elf.