You wanna rock out and have a good time, but only have 45 minutes; you can’t commit to some of that slow burning goodness that is Zelda, or overload your brain on something like DMC, or even have time to appreciate cool ladies in something like Nier.
Luckily, for 500 yen, you can snack on Kamiko – the little game you can headpat.
Kamiko is a Japan-only game on the Nintendo eShop, which is why I’m writing about it here, but is also a bizarre aspect of the game seeing as there is an English language option already in the game akin to Blaster Master Zero. HUH??? Anyway, you get your choice of three gals, one with a rockin sword, one who idolized Legolas as a child, and one who is Captain America with a knife. Despite having elemental shenanigans surrounding their char select portraits, they don’t do anything like puke fire or use eye-water-lasers.
The plot is the same for every girl and is beautifully simple and irrelevant, like games of old gods. It shoots you into gameplay quick and dirty, as gameplay is where this game likes to chill.
There are four – and only four stages in the story mode for your character to tromp through. They are each presented non-linearly with the same objective: you must break the seal on four shrines scattered throughout the level using energy points you build up from defeated baddies. Standing in your way are constantly respawning enemies and doors requiring keys/gems to unlock. Purifying the shrines gets you a date with the boss of the stage, then it’s onto the next one before you can say “easy”.
The juicy meat of this rabbit is the combat. The game wears a very familiar baseball cap (you can still see the “classic Zelda” sticker on it). You battle enemies in an overhead view with free control of direction. Each character has their own unique weapon that causes them to play different from one another – arrow gal naturally does not want to get close; sword girl does like it close; and shield girl is a fun blend, she boomerangs her shield and while waiting for it to return shanks punks in the gut with a knife. Each gal has a super move that uses up some energy and typically screen wipes. The different fighting styles are each fun for disposing foes, which is good cuz enemies are bountiful and eager to be destroyed . You smash through them cleanly to build a combo meter that awards more points to use for treasure chests and shrines. The combat is a shallow pleasure that makes you feel like a badass as points come vacuuming into your maw. There is a decent variety of enemies that are unique to each stage, but most are harmless. There are only a few that can be a pain, but it’s a short-lived pain as generally nothing takes more than a couple hits depending on the weapon. Each boss fight is fun enough with their own unique pattern, but also pretty easy.
The game presents an illusion of challenge; there are enemies everywhere, sometimes they knock off the key you’re carrying wasting your time, and there are many times where you take hits, but heals and heart pieces are abundant. In the end, you will strut to the goal.
But that’s what makes Kamiko a simple two-button pleasure. It’s arcadey and satisfying, for all the kids to enjoy. A short high to take a break with.
It’s even easier to enjoy the game due to its presentation. The pixel-art is to be expected of an indie game at this point, but the colours and environments are all yum for the eyes. The music is also jammin’, particularly the BGM for stage 3. You can peep the way it looks from my silly screenshots.
The 4 levels in Kamiko should not take more than 45 minutes if you go at a decent pace, and definitely under an hour if you’re taking breaks to hit the bong now and then. If you combine all 3 characters, you get over a couple hours of playin’, and the prospect of different playstyles mixed with the good times combat lend Kamiko enough replayability to easily clear all three for the bonus content. While you will need a JPN eShop account, it is definitely a good place to dump roughly five bucks USD ($300 CDN).