Something every proud Switch owner has had to deal with since launch is the game drought that comes with every new console. No matter how much you love the versatility of the Switch, there comes a point where you either don’t have the cash to drop $60 on the new Nintendo developed time-sink, nor do you have the faith or interest in a new indie to be quality enough to justify it’s price point. That being said, if you’re looking for a cute little indie game that’s both affordable and fun, than look no further than Kamiko.
What is it?
Kamiko is a fun little title that’s available on the eShop for the low price of $5. I like this price point because anything less would diminish the experience into mobile game territory, while anything more would be too much for how small of an experience it is. In Kamiko, the player chooses between one of three female heroes to play as, each of which has a different weapon, design, and special ability. The game looks and plays like an old 2D Zelda game, and there’s just enough small nuggets of joy in there that makes it worth completing.
The gameplay of Kamiko is incredibly simple, but that mainly plays into its charm. Although each character has a different playstyle, effectively you spend most of the game mashing the “A” button to attack, and if you spam it enough the attack improves. For example, with the archer hero, you attack once and one arrow shoots out, press it twice and two come out, press it a third and you get the idea. Every character also has a special ability which is activated by holding down the attack button until the character glows, and then letting go to clear a room. The second to second gameplay involves the player having to solve a series of puzzles in 4 dungeon stages, with each stage having an altar at its center that has 4 pillars that need to be illuminated. You’ll press down buttons, open chests, carry keys and orbs, and fight off respawning enemies while you try to memorize the layouts of maps, because once you finish the game with one character, the menu system encourages you to try out the other two. At the end of each stage is a boss fight, each of which has an attack pattern and design that’s just interesting enough to make the fights fun and rewarding. As you progress through levels you unlock health and energy upgrades, which make fighting the later bosses easier. Most interesting is that once you knock out the game, there’s both four hidden secrets scattered around the four levels, and an option to display the duration you’ve spent on a level, encouraging you to pick your favorite character and try to speedrun the game as quickly as possible. Small things like these all add up to make this $5 experience feel fleshed out, and worthwhile to be on the system.
Design and Sound
I honestly found the art to be cute and attention grabbing enough to have an enjoyable time. Each of the levels looks and sounds different enough to make it feel like there’s progression and the soundtrack is what you expect from a 2D Zelda-lite. Fun fact, if you find the secret on each level, you unlock the music option on the menu, allowing you to listen to each track individually. Something I respect about the game is that there’s just enough of a simple frame story to set motivation, and while the ending is nothing you’ll remember in the next month, there’s enough substance in the text bubbles to make it feel as if the heroes you play as really did accomplish something. For a cheap game, there’s fun little sound effects for every action you take, and again, the themes that play for each world and boss fight are actually catchy or intense enough to justify playing with the volume on. Levels are designed in just the perfect way that you double and triple back through them to solve puzzles, and each time it evolves and opens up, making you feel as if you’ve progressed. Although small and short, the design in this game stands out to me because there’s a lot of people who do it wrong.
Summary & Score
Kamiko is the perfect game to load up and sink a couple hours into, no matter where you are. Due to how simple the game is to control and play, it’s perfect for taking on the go, and the puzzles and combat are simple enough that they don’t require too much effort. I feel as if all the limiting factors on this game make it seem more charming to me, and again, the price point is too perfect to hate. Kamiko is average in every way possible, and I think that’s what makes it worth grabbing on the eShop for your Switch.