Review – [Revisited] Kameo: Elements Of Power
The ‘Revisited’ review series allows me to go back and finish a game that I didn’t the first time round, I aim to offer a quick read as opposed to an in-depth review.
Should you go back and play this one? Or should it be left in the past…
Released launch day of the Xbox 360, Kameo is a colourful action adventure title from Rare. While the game does have quite a history (initially beginning development on the GameCube), the title slowly wormed its way to release in 2005, launching alongside another Rare title Perfect Dark Zero, marking a truly unique event in gaming history where two titles from the same development studio released simultaneously (….Pokemon doesn’t count!)
The primary gameplay mechanic revolves around your ability to transform into various mystical creatures known as Elemental warriors, based off both real animals, and others purely fictitious. You may recognise the Armadillo (Major Ruin) and the Venus fly Trap (Snare), but when Deep Blue and Flex appear later in the game, you definitely know that this fantasy title has a lot of both character and creativity.
The aspect that I enjoyed the most about this title is exactly what Rare is known for in their games, character. Each of the creatures has their own unique personality and attacks, and as your adventure leads you to discover all 10 warriors, you will soon discover that all their abilities offer a good mix of both combat moves and navigation aids. As well as this, all the warriors can be upgraded using Elemental Fruit (found both in the environment and at vendors) allowing you to focus your abilities to find your favourite. For the most part, switching between the warriors is simple since they can be mapped to the B, X, and Y buttons allowing you to customise your line-up, while their attacks and abilities use the triggers. Some situations will require specific warriors, and here you can bring up a wheel to select which warrior you require, unfortunately the game doesn’t pause during this, so you may be left in harms way as you scramble to make your choice.
Beginning your adventure in the Enchanted kingdom, you meet a number of characters including the Mystic (who sends you on your adventure) and the Warrior Trainer (who shows you the ropes of combat). On your quest to save your ancestors, and to challenge both Kalus (your sister) and Thorn (the king of the Trolls who Kalus released) you will soon reach the ‘Badlands’ hub after some initial training. The ‘Badlands’ offers some large-scale battles that still are quite impressive today with the large amount of soldiers and trolls battling in real time. I would have liked a little more depth to this open area, since it primarily just serves as a hub area, allowing you to traverse on your horse to the primary areas of the game.
While each of the environments centred around ‘The Badlands’ mirror those seen a thousand times in adventure titles (snow, forest, cave etc.) the colourful art and design make each area interesting to wonder through. Areas are split into action stages that are a more linear affair, and more open adventure areas where you can complete side quests and find collectables at a more relaxed pace. All of the action stages are also available in the Co-Op mode, allowing a friend to hop in and help you hit the high score for both the leader boards and achievements.
The Music is also one of my favourite aspects of the title. Composed by Steve Burke, the tracks range from the soothing ‘Ortho’s Theme’, playing during your use of the ‘Wotnot’ book, to the more dramatic ‘Thorn’s Pass’ theme. The soundtrack is definitely one that could be listened to out of the game.
Kameo is a rather easy game to get through, and clocking in at around 8-10 hours, this may not be the largest adventure out there, but while it lasts there is a myriad of unique gameplay situations which will challenge you to both think and act fast. You’re not alone in this journey however, as early in the game the Watnot book joins you as both a companion and helper. This serves as both your inventory and character profile screen, but also contains Ortho, your friendly elder who offers up hints and advice when you most need it. Since this hint system is always running in the background, you will rarely find yourself stuck for long, therefore moving at a quick pace through the game.
Overall I really enjoyed my time with Kameo. While only taking a few nights to get through, Rare’s classic charm and gameplay make this title still stand strong six years later, offering something for both the younger and a wider audience.