After an empty passage after Microsoft’s takeover of Rare, the most famous gorilla had its comeback thanks to the good care of Retro Studios, who managed to reinterpret the Donkey Kong Country formula in a very beautiful way in front of the heirs of Playtonic, thanks in return Yooka-Laylee and The Impossible Lair never made their first love. With this new competitor in the form of a tribute, the PixelHive studio is also trying to pay tribute to a formula that is highly valued.
By choosing to stage a cartoon rabbit whose job it is to save his half by crossing levels filled with enemies and taking advantage of some transformations based on other animals, Kaze and the wild masks does not openly hide its intentions and decides to fully accept the codes of the genre even in the age of imposed social distancing. But, given all the cost of the ’90s broth, wouldn’t the formula run the risk of ending up in formalin?
Babs the masks
Kaze and the wild masks borrows many of its clichés from the 2D platformer genre, as a rabbit, wearing nothing between its shoes and vest, has to go through several dozen levels to save its bell from the clutches of an antagonist and create a little caricature . In short, all the ingredients are combined to try and hammer the nostalgic string like a funk bassist in full solo.
Jump, hop on enemies’ faces and collect tons of items: PixelHive’s adventure takes care of the spine, even if it means being considered a good student of the genre. It must be said that behind its super 16-bit environments with the most beautiful effect and its maze of colors, Kaze and the wild masks is not the most inventive, as it shamelessly and without blushing borrows the most iconic trilogy of the rare of the great era.
Between the collection of four letters, the extra life point that appears on the screen, the bonus levels that depend on full completion, the number is good. Ah, let’s not forget that Friends rigorous, replaced here by the transformations of the namesake masks, as the eagle and its bell-shaped projectiles make you angry … Squawk, done. Add in the blackberry levels and all that’s missing is Grant Kirkhope’s sweet melodies, so to speak, for a perfect score on the tribute scale.
The problem with flattery is that while old nostalgics have good reason to go back to childhood, one has to wonder where they end and where the copy box begins. And the enchantment of the different levels, as diverse and pretty as they are, does not always remove doubt. It may be the first boss to roll out a pattern of projectiles based solely on King K. Rool in Donkey Kong Country 2 Sauce, which is an element of reaction.
Fortunately, the various transformations proposed provide a nice experience, certainly not surprising enough, and which seem to be underused so that most courses do not incorporate them definitively. This of course makes it possible to vary the situations and not fall into monotony, but the impression that the mechanism of the masks, which still appears in the title, remains underutilized.
On the flip side, the artists and animators had a great time, and the gamer who is a bit aesthetic will benefit from nice background ideas that will motivate the degree regulars to repeat certain courses to explore the hidden areas (and their evidence) to find. Express Bonus (CQFD) to unlock an individual level in each of the four available worlds. It is a shame that the letters KAZE and the 100 diamonds to be collected do not stand in the way of a challenge before the end.
When the enemies benefit from a cartoony character and turn to the comic, it is difficult not to quickly see the limits of their AI, which is almost satisfied with the minimum, and despite the satisfaction that comes from a successful rebound phase reveals, her crash mask sometimes seems to have a few holes in the racket. The bosses, which logically underline each of the four proposed worlds, will not shine with their originality, but instead offer a real challenge of doing without the slightest damage, an optional category that only platform enthusiasts with a chronic shortage will plunge into.