Also on: Xbox Series X, PS5
ESRB: Not Rated
Even though I wasn’t into 3D platformers during their golden age about 20 years ago, for some reason – maybe because I missed out on them the first time around – I’ve always had a soft spot for them. Consequently, when I saw that Kaku: Ancient Seal wasn’t just a 3D platformer, but an open-world 3D platformer, I was instantly interested.
Maybe if I’d paid more attention the first time around, I’d have remembered that, just like any other genre, just because a game is a 3D platformer, it doesn’t necessarily follow that I’m going to like it.
Admittedly, that’s being a little harsh on Kaku: Ancient Seal. As long as we live in a world where games like Clive ‘n’ Wrench exist, I know that it’s possible for love letters to the golden age of 3D platforming to get a whole lot worse. Kaku certainly doesn’t get anywhere near those depths, at the very least.
Kaku’s problem is that it also doesn’t get anywhere near any highs, either. It exists in a way that’s straight-up mediocre, with little in the way of positives or negatives. I mean, just look at the basic premise: it’s about a young caveman (cave boy?) searching through worlds that represent the four classical elements with his sidekick, a flying pet pig. It all feels like someone grabbed a bunch of ideas and put them into a “Create your own PS2-era platformer” generator. It’s so generic, in fact, that it wouldn’t surprise me if this exact scenario already existed somewhere.
The gameplay is similarly forgettable.You run around decent-sized worlds, you smash various enemies trying to kill you (or snipe them from afar with a trusty slingshot), you solve environmental puzzles, you gather collectibles to help you craft better weapons or potions. It all feels like something we’ve seen countless times before.
Literally the only part of Kaku that really stands out for me is the occasional performance hiccup. A few times, for example, my character would get stuck between rocks, or he’d land somewhere he wasn’t supposed to be, and I’d have to hammer away at the jump button until the game finally released him and let him go where he was supposed to go. Similarly, there were the odd – but noticeable – moments where the game would stutter through a few frames before everything returned to normal.
But none of those moments happened frequently enough that they’re reason to bash the Kaku, either. It’s a thoroughly average 3D platformer that doesn’t do enough, good or bad, to be worth praising or condeming.
BINGOBELL provided us with a Kaku: Ancient Seal PC code for review purposes.