Game On!: Kuros
Casual gaming runs the gamut of titles, from simple strategy games to endless "dash" clones to eye-straining seek-and-find titles. Regardless of the various implementations, the goal is always to grab a player for a short period of time and hopefully keep them coming back for more sequels and expanded versions.
Kuros, a new title from Sandlot Games (online at sandlotgames.com), feels a bit different from the competition. Players will find a nice hybrid game - part puzzle, part seek-and-find and part adventure - that's simple enough for most anyone to play.
It doesn't require twitchy reactions or lightning reflexes, but it does deliver a pretty entertaining few hours of fun.
The game exercises the most cliched of adventurer conventions - the amnesiac protagonist. Player take the role of the fair Katya, who awakens in a world of elemental wonders and immediately discovers she must take actions to correct a devious act and restore order to the magical world.
That task is accomplished by finding hidden objects in brightly colored static images and completing quite a few interesting puzzles.
Katya visits different worlds, each patterned after a different element, like fire, water and metal. As she moves from realm to realm, she must recover missing fragments of the worlds she visits and solve visual puzzles to advance.
Collecting pieces of maps allows you to unlock new realms to visit. Players who are good at patterns will likely enjoy the complex line and glyph puzzles, which, when it comes down to it, are pattern-matching exercises.
The game's not all that complex, and it can easily be completed in a single sitting of less than two hours. But despite its short playtime, the fun of Kuros is in the quirky script and oddly voiced magical creatures.
Katya is an odd main character. The characters around her send her on task after task to save the world; rather than being hopeful and determined, she's voiced as cynical and world-weary. In many games, this might come off as a miscast voice actor, but I found it strangely fitting.
The biggest negative is the game's fairly low replay value. The puzzles don't have variable solutions, and there's no difficulty setting. If the developers continue this series in future games, hopefully they'll consider adding more puzzle content to make the purchase a better value.
Regardless, fans of puzzle titles or seek-and-find games should check out Kuros for its creative new approach.
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System: Windows PC
Rated: E for Everyone
Who Should Buy It?: Casual cluemasters
GameOn! Grade: B+