Developed by PixelHive and published by Soedesco, Kaze and the Wild Masks is a 90’s inspired platforming game for Stadia, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam. A physical release of the game is set for May 25, 2021. However, the game is available now digitally. Trust me when I say this, if you’re a fan of platforming games, you are not going to want to miss Kaze and the Wild Masks! Read on to find out why!
Kaze and the Wild Masks Details
Platform(s): Stadia, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC
Reviewed on: Stadia
Developer(s): PixelHive, Soedesco
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Uncover the secrets of the Crystal Islands
During the early to mid 90’s, platforming games were all the rage. And, with that came mascots. Nintendo had Mario with Super Mario World, Sega had Sonic the Hedgehog and when Sony came into the picture they unofficially had Crash Bandicoot—at least for a couple of years. And, there were a whole host of other platforming games that became popular too, such as Donkey Kong Country, Earthworm Jim and Rayman—to name a few. It’s from these 90’s classic platforming games that Kaze and the Wild Masks is born from.
The game’s story plays out through animated cutscenes and also by unlocking scrolls, which tell the story behind the ring and the secrets of the Crystal Islands. The game begins as Kaze learns of a mysterious temple that contains a powerful object inside. Intrigued by this story, Kaze and her friend Hogo set out to find the sacred temple. Upon discovering the temple, the two friends enter and see a bright shiny ring inside. Curiosity gets the better of Kaze and after touching the ring, an evil power is unleashed. It imprisons Hogo in the ring and unleashes an evil shadow that destroys everything in its path across the Crystal Islands. You set out to free Hogo and save the land from the evil shadow.
To be honest, platforming games from the 90’s weren’t really known to have much of a story line, if any. And while the story in Kaze won’t set the world on fire, it does a great job giving you the reason behind what is happening and what Kaze’s motives are.
Near perfect platforming with varied gameplay
Kaze and the Wild Masks’ gameplay is more than a typical platforming game. Sure you can run, jump, bounce and use your ears to glide across certain parts of the stage. However, it’s the legendary Wild Masks that give you special abilities that sets this game apart from others in the genre. Across the game’s four islands you discover four legendary wild masks. The first mask you encounter is an eagle, which once you put it on gives you wings and allows you to fly. Next, you discover a tiger mask which allows you to climb walls and dart across the air for a limited amount of time. Then, there’s a lizard mask that allows you to sprint continuously and double jump in the air. Finally, the shark mask allows you to swim like a shark with ease and dash fiercely in the water.
What makes these masks great and unique is not only their abilities but also the fact that PixelHive built the stages that you use these masks on around them. For example when you put on the eagle mask, you’ll have to dodge and maneuver deadly objects and enemies while flying through a treacherous course. As a result, designing the levels around the masks not only adds variety to the gameplay, it also gives purpose to the masks. It’s clear that the masks were not an afterthought thrown into the game and in my books that deserves a big thumbs up.
Collectibles, achievements and bonus levels keep you coming back for more
As you make your way through each of the game’s 31 levels, there is plenty to see and do. First, by collecting 100 red gems on each level you’ll earn a large completion gem. Collect all 31 large completion gems and you’ll get an extended ending. Next, there are two green gems that you can collect by completing hidden bonus stages. To earn these green gems you’ll have to collect a certain amount of gems or defeat a specific amount of enemies within a time limit. Finally, there are letters scattered about each level that spell “KAZE”. Collect these in each level and you’ll unlock each world’s tougher extra level. This is important as these tougher extra levels contain some of the 31 red gems you’ll need for the extended ending.
And, if you are a completionist, there are time trials for each level. This is unlocked after your complete a level. Competing in these time trials allows you to flex your muscles and rank in the online leaderboards to see who can complete each level the fastest.
Beautiful retro 16-bit pixel art graphics
Presentation wise, Kaze and the Wild Masks looks like what you might remember 16-bit platforming games on the SNES looked like. Except, Kaze is above and beyond that. The beautiful retro pixel art graphics are crisp, colourful and superbly animated. And, regardless of what platform you are on, you get the same beautiful visuals and gameplay experience.
The game’s soundtrack contains over 25 tracks that are inspired by the 16-bit era. At this point in the review you can probably guess that it goes without saying that they perfectly compliment the onscreen action and instantly invoke a sense of nostalgia.
Kaze and the Wild Masks is a must buy for platforming fans
Kaze and the Wild Masks is a love letter to 90’s platforming games. From beautiful graphics to outstanding gameplay and level design, there is not much more that you could ask for. What I love best about Kaze and the Wild Masks is that it’s a totally unique experience. It features the best gameplay elements from platforming games from the 90’s and combines them with new gameplay elements.
There are only two things that I would change in the game. The first is the ability to glide with your ears after you bounce off an enemy. The second is to be able to change the difficulty at any time. You can expect to spend roughly between 8-10 hours to complete the game. Combined with the replayability factor and value price, it makes Kaze and the Wild Masks a must have for platforming fans. While you are here, head on over to my YouTube channel and check out my gameplay videos of Kaze and the Wild Masks.
Let me know in the comments section below what you think of Kaze and the Wild Masks. Will you be picking it up digitally? Or, are you waiting for the physical release on May 25th?
+ Beautiful, colourful and well animated retro pixel art graphics
+ Solid platforming with precise controls
+ Wild Masks add to gameplay with new abilities
+ Collectibles, achievements and bonus levels keep you coming back for more
+ Budget friendly price with a surprising amount of content
– Second half of the game the difficulty ramps up quite quick
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF KAZE AND THE WILD MASKS
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5