Kamiko is a fun overhead action game that tests your ability to solve puzzles, fight demons. Unfortunately, the game falls flat when it comes to gameplay depth.
Choose a Maiden
You start off choosing between three shrine maidens. Each character has a different weapon. Yamato (blue) has a large sword that requires close battles. Uzume (green) carries a bow, a handy weapon for long range that doesn’t work well for close battles. Hinome (red) can throw a boomerang-like weapon for long range attacks and can use a dagger to tackle close battles.
Once you choose a maiden you cannot switch to a different maiden during gameplay. You’ll have to finish the game or start over if you want a different character. Each maiden follows the same storyline so you aren’t missing anything new.
Onward to Battle
The game is rather short as it contains only four levels. At first playthrough, you can beat it under two hours. Once you learn the ropes of how to play and memorize the levels, less than an hour to beat.
Each level is set up as a labyrinth and requires you to unlock four shrines before fighting the boss. Getting to those shrines consist of solving puzzles such as finding a key and carrying it to unlock a door. When you find an object to carry, you have to be very cautious not to get hit. Once hit, you’ll drop the item and it disappears. Not to worry because you can go back and retrieve the item again. Having to continuously retrace steps to bring the item to its location becomes annoying when dodging enemies.
When defeating demons in an area, they respond in a short amount of time. The respawn rate is one of the quickest since playing the original NES. While the quick respawn is meant for challenging the player, players might feel rushed to try and avoid being hit and losing their carried items.
When defeating enough enemies, you’ll have the option to unleash a power-up attack making it easier to destroy enemies on screen. The attack only runs for a limited time. Another way to defeat enemies is by charging your attack and unleashing it. It only requires you to hold down the attack button and after a few seconds, you can unleash it. Not as powerful as the power-up attack but helps in battle and there’s no limit. What could help improve the overall gameplay is by adding weapon upgrades or additional move sets for each character.
Boss battles, like any action game, require you to figure out the boss’s pattern and problem-solve puzzles in battle. For example, tricking the enemy to land on each floor pattern to become vulnerable. Once you’ve figured out the patterns, defeating the bosses become rather easy.
As you journey through each level, there isn’t too drastic of a change to the level design and in a simple layout that puts the player to walk through linear paths like a maze. The mazes aren’t huge and could have been improved upon by expanding the level. The choice of colors are very vibrant, energetic and the levels themselves remind me of the classic game Altered Beast, most likely both games having a storyline based on mythology.
The overhead gameplay gives a nostalgia feel from games like the original Legend of Zelda and works rather well along with its hack-and-slash style of gameplay. In terms of graphics, while the fields and backgrounds look great but the game’s main characters feel a bit flat in comparison. As for the music, the chiptune soundtrack works very well with the pixelated world.
With the lack of retro games on the Switch and having a colorful, pixelated style, Kamiko is an interesting game to have in your library. For $5 it’s quite a steal regardless of how short it is.
Review copy provided by Circle Entertainment