Mascot platformers dominated the gaming market during the 1990s, but they started to fall out of fashion when the 2000s rolled around. That did not stop some studios from delving into the genre, and although some of these attempts became quite successful, others quickly became forgotten. The latter fate happened to Kao the Kangaroo, a series of platformers debuting on the Dreamcast that received a middling reception from critics. Interestingly, back in 2020, developer Tate Multimedia chose to bring Kao the Kangaroo back from the dead, and now it has finally released an announcement trailer for nostalgic fans to enjoy.
Looking at the trailer, this new Kao the Kangaroo game certainly looks colorful, and the gameplay evidently takes inspiration from a variety of sources. Many parts of the trailer depict large, open environments akin to those of collectathon platformers like Banjo-Kazooie.
Just where else have I seen this before?
As the trailer continues, it begins to look alarmingly similar to Crash Bandicoot, the fourth game in particular. Automatic grind rails, breakable crates with question marks, and chase sequences moving toward the camera immediately bring Crash Bandicoot to mind, and the art style looks like a less refined version of Crash Bandicoot 4’s aesthetic. Even specific set pieces and bits of level design look quite similar to moments from Crash Bandicoot 4, such as the clip where Kao slides down a windy ice path while avoiding massive icicles.
Ultimately, the trailer for Kao the Kangaroo still shows promise, and it remains remarkable that a revival of this IP even exists at all. Some may understandably feel that the game seems a little too derivative, but there still exists a possibility that the final game will have plenty of surprises in store. Fans of this forgotten mascot can look forward to playing this new installment during the summer of 2022.