The first months of any new console are always lacking in game releases, that’s nothing new with the Nintendo Switch. Thankfully, this time around, Nintendo assured that, given the lack of region locking, it would be very easy for us westerners to access and purchase games from the Japanese eShop, and the same for the Japanese gamers when it comes to our eShop.
While browsing the Japanese store (struggling a lot, bear in mind, given the language barrier), I found a little title called Kamiko, a game I have never heard of, but with one very interesting aspect. No, it’s nothing related to its art style or its gameplay, what really interested me was the fact its initial release price was just 500 yen (less than 5 US dollars). Feeling I didn’t have much to lose in case it turned out to be garbage, I bought it, played it, and now here’s the review.
Kamiko might look like the original Legend of Zelda by the looks of the pictures in this article, but it plays quite differently. To simply put, it’s a a simplistic hack-n-slash game with three playable characters, some small puzzles and a few bosses. The game is also unbelievably easy and short, being easily beatable in around 50 minutes, maybe even just half an hour if you know where to go.
It tries to appeal to old school enthusiasts by having retro looks and sounds. While charming and good-looking at first, both the visuals and soundtrack aren’t exactly that amazing, with visuals not being that detailed (you can still be very detailed while being retro, just ask Shovel Knight) and the soundtrack being just average. There are framerate dips as well. In the end, when it comes to its old school appeal, it gets the job done, but it definitely doesn’t impress at all.
Gameplay-wise, the game is all about slashing a trillion constantly respawning enemies to make way for four gates you have to “purify” in each level. You usually need to perform very small puzzles in order to reach said gates, which can be either finding a key and putting it in a keyhole, finding an orb (which is the same as a key) and putting it in a statue (which is the same as a keyhole) and pressing some switches, slashing a quintillion enemies in your path while doing so.
The game is extremely easy, and its puzzles don’t offer much of a challenge whatsoever. The game’s only definition of “challenge” lies on the fact that enemies constantly respawn, bothering the heck out of you when you’re carrying keys (you can’t attack doing so). There are also moments in which the game locks you into a tiny room with lots of enemies, only letting you exit such room by defeating all of them. Again, while being the “hardest” element in the game, it’s still pretty easy. Enemies don’t offer many attack patterns of strategies, all you need to do is constantly mash the attack button until everybody is gone. Granted, it is quite fun in the beginning (think of it as a Dynasty Warriors level of catharsis), but it gets boring quite quickly given the fact that there are no combos and not many animations.
That’s pretty much all you can do in Kamiko: you slash and you carry keys. Slash and carry keys. Rinse and repeat. Slash and carry keys…
There isn’t much else to say about Kamiko. It’s as small as its pricetag. Given the fact it goes for less than five dollars at the moment, it might be interesting if you’re desperately looking for games during this initial period of not much variety for the Switch. Just don’t expect much from it, it’s just a perfectly average game you’ve seen a million times already.