Kao the Kangaroo Review thumbnail

Kao the Kangaroo Review

Put on your boxing gloves

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing an Xbox Series X on 🦘

Kao the Kangaroo is also available for Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and Nintendo Switch

Kao the Kangaroo is rated Everyone 10+ by the ESRB

3D platformer fans may recognize Kao the Kangaroo from the golden age of the genre and he's finally back and ready to wallop again.

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Kao the Kangaroo screenshot 1
Kao only travels via the fanciest boats

Who is Kao the Kangaroo?

Kao the Kangaroo debuted for Dreamcast back in 2000 and it had a few sequels over the years with none of the titles finding critical acclaim or mainstream success. However, the developers decided to reboot the franchise anyway with this release and even though it doesn't reach the heights of many other 3D platformers, I'm actually happy that they made it because it is a rather fun 3D platformer that old-school fans of the genre will certainly appreciate. In other words, it's a decent surprise which feels like a bargain bin game that's actually good; kind of like Scaler, Kya: Dark Lineage, Legend of Kay, and Tak and the Power of Juju... if anyone remembers those kinds of games. 😅 v1d30chumz 44-192-38-248


Just like those games of 3D platforming past, Kao the Kangaroo presents a bright and colourful atmosphere that doesn't look particularly modern yet its visuals are decent enough to make its game world come to life in a memorable and immersive way. Plus, the goofy characters that you'll meet along the way do a great job of fleshing out the world even more. Meanwhile, the audio is full of tunes that provide a seamless backdrop to every level and they are very well-produced as well as rewarding sound effects that make punching things immediately gratifying. In fact, I'd say the sound effects are the best part of the presentation.

Kao the Kangaroo screenshot 2
These challenge rooms can be a real pain


You play Kao the Kangaroo as you would most 3D platformers as you run and jump around while exploring environments. Kao's attack is a basic punch and he can also ground-pound, roll-attack, spin-attack in mid-air, double-jump, and charge a finisher attack. Thankfully, the controls are tight and intuitive. The campaign is structured so that you have various hub areas where you can access the stages from. These hub areas act like levels themselves as you can find plenty of hidden goodies within them and once you discover enough runes, you'll gain access to more stages. It's all simple and familiar stuff. 😊

Stage designs

One aspect that stands out in Kao the Kangaroo is how big and complex its stages are. Throughout each one, you'll end up performing many tasks such as skillfully throwing boomerangs, using fire gloves to melt ice, sliding down vines, climbing across monkey bars, and avoiding plenty of tricky obstacles. Overall, it's a solid amount of variety and it's quite challenging, too, although I found the challenge to unfortunately be a result of occasionally clunky controls that make landing certain jumps and such quite frustrating. I also wish that there was a map system because I frequently got lost while trying to work my way through the levels. Sometimes, you have to progress by discovering a somewhat hidden branching path which is annoying, especially when it's difficult to tell where you've been already.

Replay incentives

Finally, there are a lot of replay incentives packed into Kao the Kangaroo. First of all, you'll collect ducat coins as you play that you can redeem at shops for heart pieces, 1-ups, and costumes. Each level may also feature collectibles such as runes, the letters K-A-O, crystals, and scrolls that unlock entries in the Kaopedia. There are also eternal wells to discover which offer challenge rooms and even though they can be super-difficult, the good news is that you can retry them outside of the levels if you'd rather complete them later. With all of that being said, I wish that lives weren't a thing because running out of them means you'll have to start a level from the beginning and these levels can be quite lengthy which makes re-playing them a huge pain, especially when you bite the dust due to some clunky jump.

Kao the Kangaroo screenshot 3
Stay classy, monkeys...

I mostly enjoyed my time with Kao the Kangaroo as it brought me back to the early 2000s when 3D platformers were plentiful and memorable. It may not be a shining example of the genre but it's fun enough for those who are nostalgic for the good old days.

  • + Easy to pick-up-and-play platforming fun with lengthy stages to master
  • + Colourful world and great sound effects
  • + Solid collection of unlockables and rewards
  • - Controls can be clunky in certain situations
  • - Could use some sort of map system
  • - Life system can be annoying to deal with
7.2 out of 10
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Watch A.J. play Kao the Kangaroo
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