Kameo: Elements of Power is another title whose price has been cut in half recently. Originally this game was planned for the Nintendo Gamecube, but after Microsoftâ€™s purchase of Rare, the game got delayed and delayed up to the point where its future was uncertain. But after a while it became clear this game was going to be one of the launch titles for the Xbox 360 console. Read on if you want to know how this turned out.
On starting the game youâ€™ll get a quick explanation of whatâ€™s going on. Your sister was jealous of you getting some magic powers and she released an evil monster from the past called â€˜Thornâ€™, the Troll king. This evil duo has kidnapped your family and is trying to take over the world as is customary in most games these days. Your job is obviously to thwart their plans and rescue your relatives. Thatâ€™s about all you hear and after this cinematic youâ€™re dropped of at a level called â€˜Thornâ€™s Castleâ€™. Your goal in this level is to reach the exit alive. And while youâ€™re doing that you get hindered by a large variety of obstacles like enemies or blocked paths for example. To get past these obstacles you have the ability to morph into several elemental warriors. In the first level you can only choose three: An ice spike firing yeti, a plant with boxing gloves and a round hedgehog without needles. To give you an idea of a special ability, with Pummel Weed â€“ the boxing plant â€“ you can move under the ground to pass under a fence which is only slightly opened. In total there are 10 different elemental warriors which youâ€™ll gather during the game.
When youâ€™re done with your first level youâ€™ll arrive in the Enchanted Kingdom, a cozy peaceful place where everybody is happy. Youâ€™ll be instructed on how to rotate the view and other basic stuff you needed for the first level youâ€™ve already finished. Youâ€™ll also get an introduction to the Wotnot book. This book has everthing in it that Kameo needs to know, thereâ€™s even a wizard called Ortho embedded into the cover. In this book you can also upgrade your elemental warriors and change which one you morph into when you press one of the colored buttons. When youâ€™re on a quest, and youâ€™re stuck for a while, Ortho will happily give you some advice on how to get past whateverâ€™s in your way. His help unfortunately comes a little too soon on default settings: when youâ€™re only looking around, Ortho already begins gibbering about what to do next. This makes the gameâ€™s puzzles way too easy even though you can choose to shut him up permanently in the game options. Sometimes there are more degrees of help available when youâ€™re still not getting any further with his first advice.
Further into the game
When comparing the 2nd level to the first one, itâ€™s kind of a bummer to find out it has less action and repetitive puzzles to solve. I put the game away for a couple of days before I started again out of boredom. Thankfully the game gets better as you progress. Defeating more shadow trolls who hold elemental warriors captive gives the game a big boost in variety. But I must also warn you that rushing through the game is the worst thing you can do. You wonâ€™t have any fun doing so, I realized this when I started tried out some fun stuff like getting to places where youâ€™re not supposed to be. Once you take your time to look around and study all the nicely designed levels youâ€™ll enjoy yourself a whole lot more. During your quest you can also gather elemental fruit to upgrade your elemental warriors. Sometimes this fruit is just lying around for you to grab, but most of the times you’ll have to do a little assignment or accomplish some tough feat. These assignments are like mini quests, for example: you’ll get a small briefing by a villager to light a couple of candles. To successfully complete this quest you’ll need a special elemental warrior which you may or may not have in your possession. So to get all of the 100 fruits you have to return to previous areas occasionally to retrieve the fruit you werenâ€™t able to get before.
When youâ€™re done with the solo campaign, thereâ€™s also a â€˜score attackâ€™ mode. In this mode youâ€™ll have to gather as much points as possible to get an A rating and unlock an achievement. This gets kind of boring since youâ€™ll just be grinding down enemies for a while and then go to the exit. With only 6 standalone levels available it wonâ€™t take you that long as well once you’ve gathered some grinding experience.
Thereâ€™s also some co-op action available for this title. When the game first shipped you were only able to play split-screen. But a while ago, a patch has been made available to play this game over Xbox Live with friends living not so close by. You wonâ€™t be having much fun with this unfortunately: youâ€™re only able to play the same levels you played in the solo campaign and thereâ€™s hardly any teamwork involved. You can clearly see the levels werenâ€™t really designed for this type of co-op action. The only thing that makes it a little less boring are the level bosses, these can be fun to do.
Graphics and sound
The graphics for this title are very well done, it has a very cartoony feeling even though the graphics arenâ€™t cell-shaded. The amount of characters on screen is also very impressive. At a few occasions youâ€™re screen is filled with well over a hundred trolls and the game is still going strong at 60 FPS. Also, when youâ€™re in a level with a dark and grey skyline there are often a large bunch of dragons flying by just to give you a nice view. The sound of this game is very well done. When walking through the enchanted kingdom you definitely feel the world is alive. Every character is doing something and makes some noise whether it be complaing, cheering sleeping, or doing their daily routine. Moving through this world with 5.1 surround sound is absolutely great. Combine this with an orchestral musical score and a you have an awesome soundtrack for this game.
Iâ€™ve got some mixed feelings with this game. It has a nice atmosphere, and the sound is really great. But when youâ€™re done with the main quest, thereâ€™s just not much left to do unless youâ€™re an achievement whore. Itâ€™s definitely not a bad game and with its price cut it’s definitely worth the money. And finally because itâ€™s the only action adventure available on the Xbox 360 and the only one that’s next-gen worthy, I still give it a good rating.
Final Score: 8 out of 10 - Good (how do we rank games?)