Kamiko is an arcade take on the Zelda and Ys style of overhead action RPG.
With a pleasant visual style, three different types of gameplay and a focus on action, Kamiko aims to capture players looking for short bursts of quick and fast paced action.
One of the more appealing points of Kamiko are the three female characters, each of which offers an unique and different style of gameplay. This is made all the more clear by the high quality pixel portraits of each character in the selection menu.
As a sword character, Yamato is a very typical take on the gameplay encountered in similar games. Yamato character offers quick and accessible gameplay, at the cost of variety.
Uzume is a bow user, as the arrows are ill-fitted to kill several enemies at once, Uzume forces the player to take a more strategic approach..
Strangely enough, Uzume cannot aim diagonally, giving her blind spots that do not exist for the two characters. Unfortunately this makes Uzume abilities inadequate for the fast pace of Kamiko when compared to the other characters.
Hinome offers both a sword and a projectile weapon. This gives her a larger variety in gameplay styles than the other characters. Thus making her the most interesting character in Kamiko.
To maintain the balance, the reach of abilities are gimped compared to Yamato and Uzume. However, the projectile weapon differs from Uzume in that it allows to be aimed diagonally and by returning to the user after thrown.
As it is, you could say that characters are arranged in order of complexity. Starting with the simple sword user and ending with the multi-weapons character.
To keep the experience simple, all characters have a very limited set of abilities using only two buttons, one to run and one to attack.
Kamiko keeps a combo counter for enemies defeated, This counter resets when a character is damaged, or if too much time goes by without any new enemy being defeated.
By increasing the counter, players receive an increase of the currency gained when defeating enemies. This currency always equal to the current number of defeated enemies.
This currency is then used to open doors, buttons or “gates” required to advance in the level. It is also used to perform special attacks.
Kamiko features four levels, each with it’s own unique visual setting and unique enemies. The goal of each level is to activate four gates which unlock the boss.
While initially giving the illusion of openness, the progression through the level is fairly linear, as each of the gates are blocked by a series of simple puzzles.
The puzzles in Kamiko are as simple as pressing a button or carrying an element from point A to B. As such, Kamiko puzzles never present any challenge, simply serving to set the pace at which the player progresses through the level.
Each level in Kamiko has two hidden upgrades. One which increases the maximum currency, and another which increases the maximum life. While they’re not particularly hard to reach, they can be easy to miss as they tend to be hidden a bit out off the regular path.
Enemies in Kamiko have very basic patterns. They tend to show in large numbers, which means there’s very little strategy in the combat. They spawn when a player reenters areas after a set amount of time went past.
Each level has its own set of unique sprites for the enemies, which creates the illusion of new content for enemies with similar behaviours.
Unfortunately, certain enemies do tend to spawn near the player. This makes accidental bumps into enemies unavoidable, regardless if the player is walking or sprinting.
This can be extremely frustrating when carrying objects from A to B, as hitting an enemy causes the player to lose the object, forcing them to retrace their steps. While this becomes less of an issue as you grow to learn the layout of the level, it’s nonetheless an annoyance.
All the levels are fairly short, and due to their lack of complexity and linear nature, the only elements of replayability that Kamiko offers is to attempt to speed run it. While Kamiko does incentivize this by offering leader boards, these leaderboards only keep offline records. Due to this, the element of competition is nonexisting, thus lacking in what could had been otherwise an element of motivation for the player to return to Kamiko.
As with most games of this type, the bosses in Kamiko offer a mix of action and puzzle solving. They also obey the rule of “three” in which everything is dictated by combinations of three hits.
The puzzle element of these enemies are very straightforward, and as such the bosses rarely present a challenge. They can be dispatched of in a quick fashion, leaving you with a feeling of unsatisfaction.
While none of it’s gameplay features or design stand out, Kamiko is a competent enough game in what it aimed to achieve. With a short duration, around an hour for one character, it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome despite its simplistic gameplay and level design.
Those looking for a light action game which can be played in short burst.
Not Recommended for:
People looking for a complex experience.
Developer: Skipmore (Twitter: @Skipmore)
Price: $5/500 yen/5 euros