Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Kamiko (2017) - Nintendo Switch

As a palette cleanser between The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, I decided I wanted to play something quick and simple on my Nintendo Switch. After a little searching around the web I came across Kamiko, which was just what I was looking for.

At $6.99 CAD ($4.99 USD), Kamiko is a perfectly priced, bite-sized adventure that is ideal for killing a few hours and having some fun.

You play as one of three priestesses (known as Kamiko), who have been bestowed weapons from the gods in order to smite an evil that has befallen the land. In each of the four stages, you will have to activate several Torii gates in order to open the final door and face the boss. Each stage plays out like a bit of a puzzle. There are different switches, obstacles, etc. that you have to solve in order to find your way to the Torii gates.

Yamato squaring off against one of Kamiko's devilish bosses

The game plays similar to the original Legend of Zelda games, with a top-down view of your character. There are several enemy types you'll face along the way, including long-range attackers, and enemies that just try to run into you. The bosses are almost like something from a bullet hell shooter with multiple blasts and patterns you'll have to learn and dodge.

Each of the three priestesses change the way you play the game distinctly. In a way its like having a difficulty level setting. The first Kamiko - Yamato - is given a basic sword, which slashes in an arc in front of the her making this character the easiest to use. It's pretty difficult to miss an enemy with this weapon.

The second is Uzume, who has a bow and arrow, which is slightly more difficult to use and get used to. If you fire three shots in succession, Uzume will actually fire multiple arrows for each shot which fan out in front of her, giving you a larger area of attack. It's a little tricky to alter your brain into firing at your emeny after you've completed the game as Yamato, which adds a little bit of welcome challenge.

Uzume is preparing to find the Torii gates in another stage

The third is Hinome, who has a short sword and shield. This is sort of like a medium difficulty. You don't use the shield for defence, but rather you throw it in front of you. It's quick to release so it's easier to fire than Uzume's bow, but it doesn't reach across the entire screen. It does, however, return to you so there's some added playability there using the return arc of the shield to your advantage. Also, when the shield is released you can continue to attack enemies with a stab of your short sword. This causes Himome to briefly jet forward. The combination of these weapons is destructive. I think I may have enjoyed playing as her more than Yamato and Uzume.

The gameplay is pretty straight-forward and dead simple for Kamiko. Once you've played through the game once the challenge of the puzzles is diminished, because you'll remember all the item locations making finding the Torii gates easier and easier through each run. The change of the characters weapons and play-styles adds a slight challenge, but you'll probably get used to them in the first stage. This doesn't diminish the fun, however. The game is still a great arcade action title which you'll enjoy playing with each of the priestesses.

Hinome with her short sword and shield

The game features a beautiful, bright pseudo 8-bit aesthetic, which is very eye-catching. The images are crisp and look great in both handheld and TV mode. The colours are very vibrant and everything is easy to distinguish on-screen.

One of the best parts of Kamiko is the music. It has a very small, but well-crafted soundtrack. I found some of the stages soothing and others exciting. It's all presented in a chip-tune style that perfectly suits the pseudo 8-bit look and feel of the game, pulling the whole package together.

Once you get used to the stages each run through of Kamiko can be quick, but satisfying
Kamiko is a quick hit game that you can play in a couple of hours and is well-worth the small price to play. For me, it was a nice break after the many months I spent playing Breath of the Wild, before I buckled down to complete Super Mario Odyssey. I highly recommend you give Kamiko a try.

Hope you enjoyed,