Kamiko was a game that took me a long time to get around to, especially considering the inexpensive cost. Was it worth the wait?
At A Glance – 8 / 10
Though Kamiko only lasts for around an hour, that hour is jam packed with rock solid gameplay. It plays like an extremely condensed Zelda title, with puzzles, health upgrades, and polished hack and slash gameplay coming at you fast and furious. The game never wastes a single moment of your time, and though the loop of what you do can be simplistic, it is also incredibly satisfying. If you can get over the short length of the game, you’ll love what you’ll find here; especially considering the cost.
There is a long-standing debate about the cost of games versus the hours of entertainment it provides, and especially for someone who lives on a budget sometimes we need to get a lot of game out of our money. Certainly there have been two-hour games that I feel are as good or better than huge 200 hour AAA games (*cough* Journey *cough*), but for the most part I want to be sure I’m getting at least 10 or more hours out of a game.
I bring this up because nearly the entirety of my review hinges on what sort of value you place on your time versus your money. Kamiko is typically only $5, though I managed to pick it up for $3, and I feel it is a good cost for the game. However, there will certainly be people who will take issue with that, as the game will only last you a maximum of three-hour, and that is if you replay it two more times with additional characters.
My first playthrough of the campaign took me just barely over an hour, and subsequent playthroughs with new characters took me even less. Is that a bad thing? Well it entirely depends on your opinion, but I felt like the cost was certainly worth the experience, whether or not I saw everything there was to see in two and a half hours.
Kamiko is an incredibly compact experience that mimics an adventure such as Zelda, but sped up to the Nth degree. There is no wasted space here, and the core gameplay loop is king. I’ve played some games that are 60 hours long or more that don’t have as solid of a grasp on their core concept, and apply it in the interesting and fast paced way like Kamiko does. There is seldom wasted time or energy on something that is unnecessary.
The game is a top down action game, where you control one of three female protagonists as they rid the world of demons. Each of them plays entirely different, with each play style feeling very satisfying. The blue haired girl I started with wields a blade, and her swiping attacks almost hone in on nearby enemies. It is incredibly fun to blast through a group of enemies with these fast homing attacks, and is more polished than I expected. Holding down the attack button will allow you to do a super attack that consumes energy, spinning around in a whirlwind of death that would make Link jealous.
Those are really the only two buttons in the game, though they leverage those to do some pretty cool feeling hack and slash gameplay. The other two protagonists wield a bow and arrow, and a dagger with a boomerang shield thing, each having disparate attack styles and powered up attacks that are capable of clearing a screen.
Other than bashing up baddies you’ll go around the map solving simplistic puzzles, that are just challenging enough to give you that quick endorphin hit from finishing them. The whole thing plays like a simplistic take on Zelda, that is compacted down to a couple of hours to hit the same 30 second loop of gameplay over and over. Beat up some bad guys, solve a simple puzzle, unlock one of 4 pillars, and teleport to another area where you defeat a boss. Rinse and repeat 4 times and the game is over, never asking of you much more than that core gameplay loop.
There are times where you have to carry an item to another area, and this is the only real other issue I had with the game. As you are burdened with the item you can’t attack, and so you are left attempting to dodge sometimes erratic enemies in close quarters while hoping you don’t barely get nudged before your destination. If you do, it is time to backtrack across the map and regain whatever you were carrying to solve the puzzle. It is a small annoyance, but one that impacts the overall flow of the pacing.
Kamiko is an incredibly solid experience I wouldn’t mind playing ten hours of if it was fleshed out and expanded upon whilst retaining its gameplay. As it stands it is a fantastic value for the low asking cost of the experience, even if it is over within three hours.