Developer: Caracal Games
Publisher: Ignition Publishing
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 08/09/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
OkunoKA Madness on Nintendo Switch is an adorable little platformer game that takes us down the frustrating yet addictive road of masocore gaming, are you ready to jump in?
Dive into the world of souls to take on the role of our hero KA, an adorable little blue guy who needs to save the Soul World from his Arch Nemesis, the Evil Os. The story is simple and told via short cutscenes that rely on the visuals of the artwork to tell the tale in an almost story book manner.
Let’s Jump into the Madness Headfirst!
OkunoKA Madness eases you in the game with a few easy to grasp tutorial levels. Giving you the gameplay basics whilst giving you a taste of the pace needed to complete future levels successfully. However don’t let the simplicity of this game catch you off guard, once past the tutorial stages you will be dying multiple times in search of a solution to the level. In a similar vein to the classic masocore platformer Super Meat Boy each level gets increasingly more difficult to navigate. Hesitation is a killer in this game, try to take the level too slow or misjudge one jump and you’re dead and back to the beginning of the level.
Meanwhile as you play an interesting mechanic is introduced, the ability to control coloured platforms. Eventually you gain up to 3 different switchable platforms that you can switch on and off. These add an extra challenge as you have to switch between these whilst racing through a level to reach the goal. Additionally they also can aid you with blocking projectiles. But as well as aiding you the platforms can also be a hindrance as it also does ramp up the difficulty. In other words you need to be able to quickly switch the platforms on and off to be able to get through certain obstacles. For instance I found the quick pace while trying to do this did lead to many frustrating deaths.
But the most difficult challenge you will face in OkunoKA Madness is boss levels. Each one subsequently more challenging than the last, each unique boss has their own pattern of attack you will need to learn to beat them successfully. But be wary, one hit and you’re dead!
Extra Masocore Content for the Inner Masochist
Although the story mode offers a decent amount of fun and frustration the main story isn’t all this game has to offer. In addition you can unlock different playable skins for KA. These can be subsequently gained by finding little pink monsters in the levels, and also by gaining S ranks on levels. As a result each skin has their own perks and playstyles. Also, the addition of Bonus levels accessed via portals that are challenging and have a limited amount of lives for you to complete them in adds a bit of spice to the story mode.
Meanwhile if you find yourself hungry for more punishment there’s plenty of extra content for anyone who is a glutton for masocore games. The addition of the bonus Madness mode adds an additional more difficult world for you to sink your teeth into. Some new and exciting levels to keep that adrenaline flowing.
However if you’re feeling a bit competitive, the time attack mode will satisfy that craving, as the challenge is to complete an entire one of the worlds as quickly as possible. Subsequently the total time taken to complete the world is then ranked against the rest of the world. So this will definitely appeal to gamers who enjoy the thrill of speed running games.
Pleasure or Pain?
OkunoKA Madness is visually gorgeous and the soundtrack is a delight to listen to. Most importantly the in-game music doesn’t grate on you even if you’ve repeatedly died in the same level. Which I found truly was a blessing as the levels get increasingly difficult and require multiple attempts. Additionally the sound effects add a fun and playful feel to the game.
If you can you get past focusing on the fast-paced platformer aspect of this game, the visuals become a real treat for the eyes. For instance the detailed backgrounds are vibrant, bright and colourful making them a real treat. Similar in a visual sense to a classic favourite of platform gamers; Rayman. Both the cutscenes and backgrounds of the game feel dynamic, during which the simple animations add a story book feel to the game. In combination the level designs and character designs are also done beautifully, making it easy to tell the difference between what is dangerous and what isn’t.
Is There Control in the Madness?
Personally, I found the controls of the game initially took a bit of adjustment to get used to. Especially when the ability to switch platforms on and off was introduced. However with a bit of persistence this quickly becomes intuitive. For example actions that previously required a lot of thought or planning become muscle memory. Initial frustrations quickly turned into a desire to push through and beat the game, a challenge I really relished as a persistent and stubborn gamer. The controls are very responsive, albeit a little sensitive at times due to the nature of the game. But the sensitive controls make sense as the game is designed to be played with haste and precision. Hesitation will get you killed and this is true. That is to say that the slightest hesitation can affect a jump or run. Consequently that fraction of a millisecond makes a huge difference.
Final Thoughts – Is OkunoKA Madness Worth the Pain?
OkunoKA Madness is a delightful yet punishingly challenging game that plays well on the Nintendo Switch. It really was a pleasure and at the same time a pain to play. It certainly isn’t a game I’d recommend you relax to due to the fast-paced nature of the game. Most importantly gamers who enjoy a challenge will certainly enjoy the challenges this game puts forward. Whilst the cute almost story book feel to the game will appeal to younger gamers and gamers who appreciate bright and colourful visuals.
While the story is told through the visuals and this works really well, the game left me wanting to know more about the Soul World and the origins of KA our blue hero. I feel it would have been nice to have had the inclusion of unlockable story content. For example some form of information on the world, characters or a bit more fleshing out of the story. Something that could be visited through the options menu separate from gameplay and viewed leisurely.
In conclusion I found this a great game with stunning artwork and visuals. OkunoKA Madness is definitely a must play for Nintendo Switch gamers those who enjoy a challenge and are seeking punishing masocore gameplay.
Rapid Reviews Rating
If you would like to purchase OkunoKA Madness for the Nintendo Switch it can be picked up here: Nintendo eShop