Overview: Tales Of Kenzera: ZAU (Switch)

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

The easiest ingredient we are able to claim about Tales of Kenzera: ZAU is that it’s gateway recreation into the Metroidvania genre. The Switch is so chock stuffed with unbelievable titles at this point that it would possibly per chance per chance perhaps presumably well presumably assuredly be sophisticated to know the build to launch (we are able to abet with that too, by the plan in which), but Kenzera provides a quite breezy 6-7-hour experience that ought to provide you a signal as to whether or no longer or to no longer dip your toes in a minute further. For genre veterans, alternatively, while the gameplay is with out problems upright ample to search round for you thru to the tip, there’s minute right here that hasn’t already been performed in totally different places… and better, too.

What elevates the recreation, alternatively, is its environment and account. When you happen to’ve been following Tales of Kenzera’s construction at all, you’ll know that a astronomical deal of the sphere takes inspiration from Sugent Studio’s inventive lead, Abubakar Salim, and his private experience dealing with parental loss. Incidentally, Salim (a stage and conceal actor and the utter of Bayek in Assassin’s Creed Origins) additionally provides the utter for protagonist Zau, and now we have gotten to commend the voiceover work as a total; it’s brilliantly performed one day of and helps the sphere resonate noteworthy extra than if we were merely reading strains of debate.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

Zau himself is on a sprint to revive his deceased father by capturing the spirits of three monsters and offering them to Kalunga, the God of Loss of life. Kalunga accompanies Zau in his quest and provides advice each hasty-witted and philosophical, and now we have gotten to admit that we relished every 2nd that the sagely spectre confirmed up. Total, Kenzera’s account is a touching, heartfelt fable elevated by the performances of the utter actors, and were it no longer for this, we dread the recreation would have slipped from our reminiscence virtually straight.

Now, we can have to stress that Kenzera’s gameplay is solid. Motion feels fluid, you’ve obtained a bound capability that’s virtually continually gratifying to pull off, and the strive in opposition to, while completely no longer deep or no longer easy, feels impactful and fun. The problem now we have gotten is that you just would possibly per chance presumably well presumably also genuinely explain that right here’s the studio’s first crack at a Metroidvania recreation; there’s very minute field eager, exploration is saved at an absolute minimal, and the unlockable abilities don’t add a astronomical deal of diversity or depth.

The most consuming disappointment for us comes with that lack of exploration. The very easiest Metroidvanias boast gorgeous, interconnected worlds stuffed with secrets and tactics that construct you have to head off the crushed song, and even supposing Kenzera’s world is with out problems gorgeous, the branching paths quantity to minute extra than linear corridors that consequence in a explicit intention. When you’ve light the indispensable merchandise or crushed the boss, you have to backpedal thru the identical corridors till you attain what we’d negate as a mini hub dwelling. It’s fully right here that you just would possibly per chance presumably well presumably also then unlock a fresh door or attain a fresh dwelling to development further.

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Fight encounters are sprinkled one day of the experience. You’ll stumble upon about a enemies on the skim as you construct your plan thru the recreation, but most strive in opposition to segments are restricted to explicit areas wherein the exits are blocked off; plan of affection Bayonetta or Devil Would possibly per chance fair Bid.

You’ve obtained the possibility to clutch out your foes with melee attacks and prolonged-fluctuate projectiles, and likewise you would possibly per chance presumably well presumably also toggle between these with a tap of ‘L’, swapping out Zau’s solar and moon masks and thus altering his look and moveset. Some enemies are color-coded to prove their strengths and weaknesses, so the recreation does a upright job of ensuring you’re no longer correct sticking to one plan of assault. Effectively, in concept no longer decrease than.

Unfortunately, each enemy diversity and the arenas the build you battle them are restricted. We love the strive in opposition to, but when the 20th arrive upon feels exactly the identical because the first, it will get awfully repetitive. It’s also possible to strive to mix up your strategy as noteworthy as you love, but when the recreation throws the identical enemies at you in the identical patterns time and over again, it’s arduous to no longer correct utilise the identical offensive tactics every single time.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

Thankfully, there are capability bushes tied to every hide, so that you just would possibly per chance presumably well presumably also enhance each your melee and prolonged-fluctuate abilities independently. So as an illustration, you would possibly per chance presumably well presumably also unlock a proceed wherein you leap up and slam down into the bottom to deal damage, or you would possibly per chance presumably well presumably also add an further hit to your overall assault combo. Unlocking every fresh capability feels welcome, but it completely doesn’t add a astronomical deal or depth or diversity to the overall strive in opposition to gameplay. Truthfully, we plan of wish it were all correct on hand correct from the launch.

Thru its overall fine, Kenzera is a vivid sprint that is potentially easiest described as a inferior between Ori and the Blind Woodland and Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown. The plan conceal particularly appears to be like to be love it modified into swiped straight from an Ori recreation, and to be sure, that’s genuinely no contaminated ingredient. Unfortunately, love many multiplatform games at the present time, Kenzera does have from muddy visuals and stuttering frame rates on the Switch (even supposing right here’s reportedly below investigation). It’s admittedly no longer as contaminated as we’d at the inspiration feared, but right here’s undoubtedly indubitably one of those cases the build when you happen to have gotten beefier hardware on hand, then we’d indicate playing it in totally different places.


Tales of Kenzera: ZAU is recreation, but it completely sits in the shadow of severely better Metroidvanias on the Switch. We love the environment and storyline, but as Surgent Studios’ first stab at what has confirmed to be a wildly usual genre over time, it struggles to quandary itself aside with barely bland exploration and repetitive strive in opposition to. Coupled with compromised visuals and efficiency on Switch, veterans of the genre also can wish to provide this one a proceed away out. For inexperienced persons, alternatively, the breezy gameplay also can construct for a pleasant introduction to Metroidvanias.

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