Games I beat in 2017 #11: Kamiko

When I reserved my Nintendo Switch I reserved Breath of the Wild. I tried, but I hated that game. Blaster Master Zero made me feel like the system wasn't a waste. Kamiko made me excited for more things to come.

Kamiko doesn't use any of the Switch’s “unique features” but that doesn't matter. It is a short, Zelda-inspired action game with three different characters to choose from. One has a sword and shield. One has a bow and arrow. The third has a boomerang-thing and a dagger she can stab with while waiting for the boomerang to return.

So, pretty Zelda-like. There are keys and mystic orbs (balls) that you have to carry to certain points. If you get hit while doing so, the item will crash to the ground and disappear. Whoops. Time to go back.

The game definitely feels like it has speedrunning in mind. There's an option to display your game time on-screen. There's a trick with enemy spawns, too. By leaving one enemy from a group alive, the group won't respawn when you run back through that area. (They would if you had taken out the entire group.)

I’m not going to go down that path - I am horrendous at action games. But it’s a short enough game that I can see people starting to speedrun it. The three different characters do make the game feel a bit different, which was nice. I ended up playing it to completion three times.

My one complaint is that I either missed or they don't tell you that there’s a charge attack available. Hold down attack and you'll use some of your gems to do a more powerful attack. The (spoiler!) final form of the final boss can only take damage from these attacks. So this confused me on how to exactly beat it until I looked up a video.

Oh, I didn't mention those gems much. To complete each stage you need to “purify” four shrines. To do so you need to have enough gems, something that all enemies drop, to do so. So there is a balance here. Kill enough enemies to get the gems you need and make sure paths are clear enough so you can backtrack with a key or orb. An interesting little balance if you want to play fast.

As a sub ¥1000 game, Kamiko delivered value well above its price tag. I can't see myself going back to it, but I’m glad I played it.