Legend of Kay Switch Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: Kaiko

Publisher: THQ Nordic

Release Date: May 29th 2018

Price as of Article: $29.99 USD, £26.99 GBP

Game code provided by THQ Nordic for review

Story

Legend of Kay begins with a history lesson about the mystical land of Yenching. Yenching has been inhabited for many generations by four animal kingdoms all following the religious code of “The Way”. The four animal kingdoms that follow this belief peacefully are the cats, hares, frogs and pandas. One day, the Gorilla and Rat alliance, known as the Din, invade Yenching. Eventually, the people stop practicing The Way, and slowly give in to this new tyrannical rule.

It is here we meet Kay, who is a young cat learning martial arts from a drunk washed-up master. When his martial arts school is shut down to make way for Din schools, and his master walks away without contesting it, Kay steals a mystical blade his master keeps and sets off to free his people.

Audio

The audio design in Legend of Kay leaves a lot to be desired. Enemy attacks, weapon swings, jumping, swimming, running, pretty much every sound the game makes is a little grating. That though has nothing on the voice acting. The voice acting in this game is absolutely atrocious. Now, bad voice acting can sometimes be forgiven from side characters and some recurring ones, but the worst offender here is Kay himself.

As for the music, lacklustre and repetitive is the best way to describe it. It isn’t the worst soundtrack I’ve heard, but it is certainly one that bothered me enough to turn the sound off on my Switch.

Visuals & Performance

Legend of Kay is a port of a PS2 game, and as such it suffers from a very dated visual style. There has clearly been some work done to make the game look presentable, but unfortunately that dated look will never go away. Design-wise though, the game has a very distinct look that helps make up for its visual deficiencies. The characters look well thought out, as does the villages, ornaments and statues. The environments themselves are also well designed, creating a real coherent look and feel the the overall presentation.

As for the performance, Legend of Kay doesn’t miss a beat. The game runs smoothly, and in my experience it was bug free. Considering the origins of this game coming from the PS2, that is a feat worth congratulating.

legend of kay 1
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Gameplay

Legend of Kay is your classic 3d platformer that were running rampant in the early 2000’s. You control Kay around a 3d environment, attack enemies, solve puzzles, find hidden goodies and finish quests that generally end up being either fetching items or destroying enemies. It is exactly what you would expect from this type of game.

Because the game is a port from the PS2 era, there are many issues that linger from that time period. The camera is abysmal, and is something you will wrestle with the whole game, causing mass frustration from beginning to end. As for the controls, they are very clunky and hard to deal with in this day and age. How dated the game feels overall is a very difficult thing to contend with.

legend of kay 2
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The combat is actually quite deep. You start off with some basic combos, but your move set quickly grows in the early stages of the game. There are moves to deal with multiple enemies which are great for controlling crowds, and others that allow you to deal heavy damage to enemies that have been knocked to the ground. You also have to take advantage of a multiplier that will allow you to dodge from enemy to enemy to extend combos and help get you out of trouble. There is also a block and roll that can allow you to get behind enemies with their guards up. It is just a shame the game doesn’t control very well or else this combat system could be a lot more fun.

Boss battles are rather mundane, generally having you waiting for the enemy to get itself in a vulnerable position for you to be able to strike. It’s never too difficult, and isn’t really much fun.

legend of kay 3
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Value

Is Legend of Kay worth your hard earned cash? I find it hard for myself to give this game a recommendation for a number of reasons. Number one, the price seems way too much for a prettier PS2 game. Second of all, the game just isn’t very good, and there are a number of much better 3d platformers around this price point that would be more worthy of your money. Basically, the only people I can recommend this to are people who are nostalgic for Legend of Kay.

Pros

P

Great performance

P

Surprisingly deep combat

P

Coherent visual design

Cons

P

Graphically poor

P

Lacklustre audio

P

Atrocious voice acting

P

Dated gameplay