OK K.O.! Let’s Play Heroes Xbox One Review: Punching Out
Cartoon Network may not be what it used to be when it comes to programming (man, I miss Courage the Cowardly Dog), but it does have some engaging shows as of late, including OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes, which focuses on would-be heroes around the fictional Lakewood Plaza strip mall. No, not superheroes, but those that try to dominate fights like champions. It's a bit silly, but ideal fare, especially for those that get the idea of building up to something great.
On that note, the team at Capybara Games has built a game around the TV series, focusing on young K.O. as he defends the plaza from evil forces, only to find a more dangerous plot afoot. The game does get a little repetitive when it comes to the nature of its missions, but there's no question fans will feel right at home with its presentation and fisticuff action.
K.O. punches in for work (by literally going into the break room and destroying a punching bag each time – what's the expense on that?) and finds himself taking on a number of missions for friends like Enid and Radicles, as well as his mother, who's a fighting master in her own right. They've all been given hero cards that make them feel like they've accomplished something, but an evil plot suddenly shifts everything into motion.
It turns out that an evil businessman named Lord Boxman has bought the card company and reset everyone's stats, forcing K.O. to spring into action against his evil forces while trying to save them. Again, silly – they are just cards – but it sets events in motion on a level that fans will understand.
A Good Impact, But It Could've Hit Better
The game involves role-playing elements combined with beat-em-up action pretty effectively, as K.O. will make his way around the plaza, making friends and attempting to fill up their cards while, at the same time, taking out Boxman's forces. With this, you see the devotion that Capybara has put into the presentation, as it's exactly like the show. That can be a good or bad thing, depending on your tolerance of its level of humor. If K.O. got on your nerves there, he won't exactly win you over here.
Still, kudos to Capybara for keeping the presentation bright and colorful, and including an animation style on the same level as the series. The voice acting is also very good, with K.O. and company sounding like great, unique characters. Even the super-muscular owner of the store where K.O. works has a charming personality, though he looks like he's about to smash store shelves at any minute.
The gameplay also isn't too bad. Part of the game is about exploring and leveling up cards, while the rest works with the combat. K.O. has some great moves in his arsenal, which can be chained together into highly effective combos. The dodge roll is also a great technique, and can be mastered within just a few skirmishes. I was also a fan of the exploratory nature of the game, even though it is somewhat limited to the shopping mall for the most part.
But the structure of the game is flawed. What I wouldn't have given to see OK K.O.! be something along the lines of a side-scrolling brawler like Final Fight. Instead, it's hastily divided between beat-em-up segments, wandering around the mall and dialogue. Perhaps that was the idea considering the way the show is set up, but, man, I would've loved to see K.O. team up with someone and take on Boxman with weapons, power-ups and more.prevnext
Fans of OK K.O! Will Love It
That said, there is some innovation to the battle system, as you can call upon secondary characters for a super attack, once their card is completed and put into your folder. There are various types available, each with unique skills based upon their personalities, and they really shine when you're surrounded by Boxman's forces. But, again, I can't help but think how fun it would've been to make these guys playable, and able to kick butt in their own right. Why should it be K.O.'s show when everyone else has something to offer?
OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes is a suitable game if you're a fan of the show, or looking for something for younger players that want an engaging experience filled with lively characters. But I can't help but think it could've been something more with a different approach, especially when it comes to its secondary characters. It's definitely got its heart in the right place, though, and some of you will see that with the game's presentation. It's not bad, just not the champ that we were expecting.
Give it a try if you're curious. But maybe watch the show first to see just what you're getting into.
WWG's Score: 3 out of 5.
Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.prev