Kameo: Elements of Power – Second Opinion

Although Kameo: Elements of Power has definitely had a rough ride making it to retail, I'm going to chime in and say that Mike's being a little bit too hard on it. It's clear that the title has some issues, but there's a lot to like and this colorful fantasy adventure serves as a nice respite from the 360's too-serious library. As Mike says, it probably won't be remembered in 10 years, but Kameo occupies a niche that will likely go underrepresented on Microsoft's new machine.

Experienced platformer or character action players can expect a smooth and visually-pleasing experience that never gets very taxing or difficult. The graphics definitely have that early "next-gen" look to them, and the developers included ample advice to prevent anyone from getting stuck. I happened to be in the mood for something colorful and light, so Kameo fit the bill perfectly.

On the other hand, I finished the game in two extended sessions and was disappointed to find that most of my time was spent collecting the different monster forms; after grabbing the final one, it was just a few short segments until the credits rolled. This kind of play structure might not have felt so hollow except that there wasn't much else to the game— earning the creatures shouldn't have been an end unto itself. It would've been nice to have full access to the creatures earlier and then be set loose in levels that required their use in a more proactive or exploratory way.

Although Mike's comments about the repetition in structure are accurate, there are short bursts of excellence that occasionally pop up. Sinking ships from beneath the waves as the tentacled Deep Blue was a favorite segment, and being able to unleash fiery doom with Thermite's lava grenades was a satisfying bit of comeuppance. Simply transforming from creature to creature alone almost justifies the price of admission. However, outside of the occasional thrilling set piece, most of Kameo's menagerie goes underused except for Major Ruin, the game's armadillo clone. For some reason, the developers had a pulsing hard-on for this rolling bastard and felt the need to include his "Look, I'm a ball" ramp-jumping in every single area, whether it made sense or not. Less of this Tony Hawk wannabe next time, please.

There are other rough spots I could talk about like the bad-idea control system that relies too heavily on the triggers, or the way the game's vibration can't be turned off (boo!), but outside of the small annoyances and general lack of content, Kameo: Elements of Power is a decent little outing that could be the beginnings of a great new franchise. Kameo herself is fairly appealing, and the concept of being able to transform into several different types of monsters resonates strongly. After all, hasn't everyone had a similar fantasy at one point or another? With ten different beasts at her command, Kameo's sporting a whole zoo just bursting with gameplay possibilities; Rare just needs to expand on them in a more purposeful way. It may not stack up against Rare's greatest hits, but I enjoyed my time with Kameo and look forward to a stronger sequel. Rating: 7 out of 10