In a very short span of time mobile gaming has boomed into the mainstream. Right now it seems almost impossible to find someone who hasn’t or isn’t currently playing some form of video game because of mobile gaming’s mach speed rise into popularity. Then something odd began to happen, as mobile games began to leak into home consoles. It’s an weird time for the industry as new markets are born and others vanish in the blink of an eye, and in this odd market a game can now be seemingly available every device within our reach.
Crazy Kangaroo is one of these games. Initially a mobile game for iOS and Android, it is now available on the 3DS. Simple, well animated, and fun, Crazy Kangaroo delivers on all the things a good enjoyable game should, and yet is it enough? Restricted to the design standard of mobile games, does it succeed in a dedicated gaming device?
The answer is a bit mixed. Crazy Kangaroo is indeed a fun game, but its biggest setback is that it is a “little” game. Though it has some unlockable content for players to strive for, it’s not content that sufficiently changes the game enough to make the work worthwhile. It improves the game, but it doesn’t make it more interesting. And while the game is initially appealing, it will go by so fast that the act of playing it will soon seem pointless. This is not to say short games are bad, but when there’s almost no challenge to speak of, or some sort of broad or specific point being made, then there’s no value in playing a game beyond killing a few minutes only to be left forgotten gathering digital dust.
It’s unfortunate though, because there is a lot of skill put into this game, particularly in its visuals. Crazy Kangaroo is a great looking game; downright beautiful really. It has a cartoonish design, one that was made with great skill. Bright, sharp colors drastically differ between the three worlds, giving each a unique look while perfectly complementing the fantastic style. Best yet is the fact that it’s smoothly animated; It almost feels like you’re playing an actual cartoon. Added to all this is a 3D effect for the Nintendo 3DS that may perhaps be seen as superficial, and really, it is unnecessary and clearly added because it was on 3DS. The 3D however combines beautifully with all its visuals. Together you get a game that is visually gorgeous, and while perhaps it’s not stylistically unique, it’s none the less a fantastic looking game.
The same can’t be said for the sound, as the one thing that will stand out here are the kangaroos yelps and giggles of excitement, but much like Navi’s voice in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, this connection will wear out thin very quickly and becomes an annoyance. For what generally is an enjoyable game, I feel that this will be the element that will annoy users the most. There is also a generic loop that’s merely there, though it is barely audible because of the kangaroo. However, we’re fortunate that only one thing will be extremely annoying.
While the game can be fun, and initially it is, it is so simple that there’s not much really here to enjoy. Every level is the same and will have you guide the kangaroo, from a top to bottom perspective, as it jumps from platform to platform until it reaches the arbitrarily placed goal, all the while avoiding falling into the water and whatever enemy is chasing you. The only input players use is the circle pad to move him left or right, and speed up or down. There’s nothing else. The levels don’t have much creativity to them, and when playing through the stages, they will go by in a blur, as they are extremely short and quickly finished. There is an endless mode and some unlockable items, but these add very little to the experience.
That’s the biggest weakness of the game. It’s built with high score beating in mind to create replayability, but it does so little to actually keep players playing that it fails. This is compounded by any lack of challenge. Getting a high score soon becomes a matter of how much time one is willing to invest, not skills.
Ultimately, the game, like many mobile games, feels like a quick cash grab, which is odd, since its visual style reveals that a certain level of effort and care put into Crazy Kangaroo. Is it then merely unfinished? Crazy Kangaroo is a fun time waster, but with so little to offer it will be quickly forgotten or overlooked. It’s fun for a few minutes, but soon after, once you’re finished you’ll be left asking yourself why you ever played it to begin with.