Kaku: Ancient Seal review

by on July 10, 2024
Details
 
Release Date

July 12, 2024

 

For as good as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was, it set a high bar for the open world action-RPG titles that followed. We’ve seen a few that did a pretty good job, such as the seemingly forgotten but enjoyable Immortals: Fenyx Rising¬†and the charming Tchia, but no matter the game, if it shares similar elements, it’s going to get compared. Bingobell’s first big release sure as shizzle feels a a touch similar to Nintendo’s epic adventure, but Kaku: Ancient Seal is much more than a BotW clone.

You play as a child called Kaku who’s minding his own business when he comes across an ancient prophecy that needs to be fulfilled, reuniting the elemental souls that once formed the foundations of the world while at the same time uncovering the mysteries of an ancient calamity that caused the destruction in the first place. It’s all epic and dangerous in the best ways, and while the story is easy to follow, it isn’t what makes Kaku: Ancient Seal as fun as it is.

Throughout your journey across the different elemental worlds, you begin to learn new skills across a vast skill tree. At first, it’s pretty overwhelming, but the more you play the more you can start to adapt to your own playstyle. Beating up the enemy, be it smaller runts or bosses, is incredibly satisfying. You have standard combo inputs, but these can be grown to last longer and add additional attacks. There are a variety of enemy types with various weaknesses as well, leading you to experiment with elemental bombs and attacks, and even new weapons.

You’ll also end up learning tons of abilities that help you traverse across environments with ease. What makes it so fun is how straightforward it is to execute everything. It seldom gets repetitive due to the sheer amount of skills available, and pulling off some of the attacks looks and feels amazing. On top of your skill trees, there are a lot of other upgradeable strands which you’ll need certain coloured crystals for, as well as other materials for cooking health potions or meals with, and upgrading health and stamina. It does seem a bit excessive, especially when you’re trying to work out the difference between them all, but you do start to become familiar with it.

Kaku: Ancient Seal does look a little rough around the edges, especially going into cutscenes or conversations with NPCs, but there’s no denying it also looks gorgeous. The different environments, be it the mountains, blue oceans, sandy cliffs, or lush forests, shows beauty everywhere you look. It’s so satisfying to explore, and finding PonPon camps (the inhabitants of the world), puzzle-filled ruins, or other secrets starts to become one of the coolest things to do.

Speaking of these ruins, there are so many environmental puzzles within the ruins that solving them is a nice respite from saving the world. By completing them, you’ll unlock a range of new gear and resources to help improve Kaku while also looking the part. While there seems like there’re so many different mechanics and strands to levelling up and improving your skills, it feels cohesive. Bingobell has done an impressive job since going into Early Access, polishing and tweaking to make this ARPG one of the more exciting titles in recent years.

Kaku: Ancient Seal is a wonderful alternative to Zelda, and it does a much better job when it comes to the platforming elements. It’s never a chore exploring environments, and combat is consistently changing due to the various skills you can unlock. Kaku is a loveable scamp, and his little piggy companion is the cutest fella, who coincidentally can also help Kaku pull off other skills on top of everything else. While some transitions between cutscenes and action are a bit janky, and it doesn’t have the polish of bigger studios (understandably so), it’s a wonderful 3D platformer that will give you plenty of hours of enjoyment.

Positives

Combat is exciting
Beautiful world to explore
Puzzles are great

Negatives

A lot of upgrades to learn
A little rough around the edges

Editor Rating
 
Our Score
8.0

SCORE OUT OF TEN
8.0


In Short
 

Kaku: Ancient Seal is a lot of fun with plenty of skills to learn and some well-executed ideas, along with a gorgeous world to explore.