KAO the Kangaroo: Round 2 PS2 Review

The original KAO the Kangaroo was released for the ill fated Dreamcast and the PC, but never saw the light of day on the current trio of consoles. He may be an extremely generic cartoon Kangaroo, but KAO’s sequel is a good solid platformer as well as a throwback to the origins of the genre.

KAO the Kangaroo: Round 2 is a title that retains the platforming essentials, but doesn’t attempt to sail into the bold new waters that many games have continued to seek. The cookie cutter concept may be rather aged, but when the game in question is executed so successfully it leaves us with little disapproval. Who needs innovation when you are focussed on jumping over those gaping chasms anyway? Not us.

The levels present here don’t really provide any freedom, but at least they don’t suffer from feeling empty. The path throughout the games entirety is blatantly obvious, although exploring each stage from corner to corner is still encouraged as coins, stars and jewels are there to be uncovered, which are all naturally resourceful items to aid this boxing Kangaroo in his colourful quest.

Coins scattered around the stages play a major purpose in KAO’s cause. Basically he needs to gather 3000 coins to reach the last set of stages and face up to the evil hunter. The stars on the other hand award KAO with an upgraded move for every accumulated 50, whilst the purple jewels allow you to open up a number of bonus rounds in the games central hub.

Revisiting levels to attempt to seek out anything you may have missed on your first time through is also an option and thankfully these stages are still a joy during repeated play. Perhaps the amount of variation packed into this relatively short quest has a lot to answer for in this aspect. Beyond the regular jumping, there’s boat racing, snowboarding, ice-skating (without the skates!), swimming and more. Crash Bandicoot style running into the screen, chase sequences are even present and utilise that very same unique forward camera system, which is impractical in theory but somehow manages to work.

KAO himself sports a pair of boxing gloves and with these he can take bad guys out with a basic, but nifty combo attack. Furthermore he can perform a spinning tail and stomp attack, which are both very reminiscent of platform stable mate, Croc. Boomerangs even appear to take certain enemies down from afar and it all adds up in the end to a rather generic character, although we must applaud the way he comically hangs by his ears like a sweater left out to dry on a clothesline.

Graphically the game does its business, but is as fundamental as the platforming concept on show here. KAO the boxing Kangaroo is horribly generic, but still happens to be rather loveable. It’s not a technical marvel by any stretch of the imagination – marred by a rather hollow appearance, it’s still very functional though, which is all that matters.

KAO the Kangaroo does very little wrong, but there is one big glaring flaw and that’s the length of time that it will take the average gamer to complete the game and unfortunately that’s not very long at all. That said there’s reason to go back if you didn’t fully explore the levels and grab all the items, but it’s still all over too soon. The casual and younger platform fan will find much to love here, whilst there’s still a good short-lived adventure in here for the rest of us.