Release Date: 11/7/2005
Available Exclusively On
The Good: Charming graphics, good audio, lots of different creatures to play as, epic bosses
The Bad: Either too easy or too hard, little replay value, boring extra modes, watered down story and characters, downloadable content broken?
We all know what to expect of games that are launched alongside brand new consoles, and that isn’t very much really. Launch titles usually are just a handful of games that kind of give us a taste of what the new console is capable of and nothing more. Kameo was just one of those games with beautiful graphics (for its time even) fun game play, and well that’s about it. Kameo fails to develop a really good story and characters to be in that story, but what there works and it’s enough to keep you hooked for the 5-6 hours you spend playing this.
Kameo is an elf (they can fly now?) whose sister betrayed their kingdom and woke an evil troll named Thorn. The whole game is about you setting elementals free and using them to work your way to Thorn. There are 10 elementals all together and each of them are well designed and very unique in their own rights. Kameo is a platformer developed by Rare so you kind of know what to expect here. Surprisingly (for a Rare game) Kameo is fairly easy and the only frustrating moments are bugs or design flaws more than mechanical issues with controls or cameras. The game is peppered with collision detection issues and just overall errors. These don’t hinder the play, but tend to make you more frustrated than you should be. Anyways, most of the game consists of you switching between these elemental creatures and using them to kill enemies and solve (simple) puzzles. For example the first elemental you’ll get is Pummelweed; he is a plant who can go under ground and uppercut, and do jabs. You may need him to get under low hanging doors or walls or use him against specific enemies. A second creature you get is Ash; he is a dragon that came shoot balls of fire and you can use him as a flamethrower.
Some enemies are more weak against him than others so there is strategy that comes into play here. Elementals can be changed on the fly via the four face buttons and attacks are done with the triggers. You can go into your Wotnot (book) and assign different creatures to your buttons. Of course you have to catch these creatures by finding shadow trolls and defeating them in a manner of throwing light trolls at it. Once the troll is defeated you absorb your elemental (and get an achievement!) Your main goal is to rescue your family members and this is down with epic boss fights (that can be TOO tough). At the end of each level you get to fight a huge boss that involves using certain elementals (usually the ones you’ve most recently captured).
Now you can upgrade your creatures powers by finding fruits around the world or buying them with coins. These powers are needed to become more powerful and help you through the entire game. Of course finding all these fruits is nonsense knowing Rare so just finding the ones you come across is sufficient. The game also sports a co-op mode so you and a buddy can have at the baddies in this game, or you can do a time trial mode or a “level-by-level” mode where enemies get increasingly harder. I find all these modes uninteresting since once you beat the main game you’ll be pretty sick of this game to begin with anyways. The game is very repetitive even though there are multiple creatures to play as they all end up being the same in the end.
The only really awesome part is mowing down thousands of trolls with a charging horse in the Badlands (between levels you do this to save shield generators) which really showed off how many enemies can be shown on-screen at the same time. I have to admit though the enemy AI is pretty decent so don’t get the game wrong there. There are some downloadable costumes for Kameo, but for some reason the game never recognized these I have no idea why. If you skipped out on this launch title I suggest you go pick it up for less than $10 pretty much anymore.