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Kaze and the Wild Masks (PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC, Stadia)


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So I was trading in a big old back of duplicate Blu-Rays and had some credit to spend. I ended up picking a few "wants' I've been eyeing up including the Alex Kidd remake, Observer System Redux on the PS5 and a few others. With a bit of cash left over, I saw this little Sonic looking mascot platformer that seemed kind of interesting. I remembered some youtuber saying it was pretty good so I went ahead and picked it up on the Xbox since it supports Auto-HDR and seems to run very well on the platform. 

 

Let me tell you - don't sleep on this little game! I'm about 40% of the way done with it and it's a blast. It features exquisitely tight controls in the vein of 90's platformers. Donkey Kong Country is absolutely the games greatest influence as some of the gameplay mechanics of the most recently titles even make an appearance here (that's not a bad thing!). It also happens to have a really great sprite/pixel look to its visuals that certainly pulls at the nostalgia strings while still featuring some great visual level design and a distinct style that doesn't feel like its phoning in the retro thing. It’s not doing anything substantially new but what it does, it does really, really well.

 

Like any good platformer, the difficulty isn't in completing the levels but in finding all of its secrets. Each level has two bonus levels hidden them to form a green jewel. There's also the ability to pick up letters that spell out the name of the main character - Kaze. This will award you another jewel. Finding 100 purple jewels in the level will award you another and finishing the level without getting hit will award you the last one. It's fair with the just the right amount of challenge.

 

I'm legit surprised I had never heard of this until now as its been out since March but if you're a fan of games like the more recent Donkey Kong titles or the latest Yooka Laylee, it's very much in that vein with a bit less of the ball breaking challenge those titles feature. I cannot recommend it enough as we desperately need more quality old school "mascot" platformers in this style, IMO.

 

This is a great little video review if you're interested in seeing it in motion:

 

 

 

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