Fri. Mar 1st, 2024
Bend the Rooles DLC Cover

I’ve always been a huge fan of mascot platformers, and so I eagerly jumped on Kao the Kangaroo as soon as I could. I played the base game, and even though there were undeniable flaws, I still really enjoyed it. When a game has enjoyable platforming, I’m willing to overlook a lot, so that was definitely the case here. Last year they released their Oh! Well DLC which added new bonus levels. I found the addition to be pretty awesome, and so I was more than happy to try out their latest DLC, for this Bend the Rooles DLC review.

Unfortunately, despite my previous acceptance of the flaws, I’ve finally reached my limit. The DLC was abound with problems, and the developers still haven’t fixed some of the issues that have been present since the base game was released nearly a year ago. It’s pure laziness at this point, and I can’t keep excusing it. It’s such a shame, too, as this DLC had so much promise. There were some great concepts in there, but the execution let it down.

Anyway, maybe you’ll be more forgiving of the flaws than I was, I’ll let you make your mind up. I’m simply here to present my experience of playing. So, let’s get into my Kao the Kangaroo: Bend the Rooles DLC review!

Setting and Story

Where the Oh! Well DLC was an extension of the main game, the Bend the Rooles DLC is totally separate to the campaign. You access it from the main menu, and you can play it even if you’ve not done the base game yet. It’s an entirely alternative storyline, albeit shorter and less fleshed out.

Bend the Rooles DLC review, Hopalloo Island
Eternal crystals have popped up all over Hopalloo Island.

Once again, you find yourself in Hopalloo Island, but it’s a little different. For starters, there are far more coins strewn about the area, which is definitely an upgrade in my eyes. I love collecting things, and so I enjoyed being able to run around and pick up the coins. It also meant it was quicker to purchase hearts and lives from the shop. This was necessary as you start once again with just 4 lives and 3 hearts, missing out on any upgrades you picked up during the campaign.

The story seems to take place right after the resolution of the first game. We’ve just defeated the big bad and saved the day, but oh no! It seems the Eternal World isn’t done with us yet, and the Corruption starts spreading once more. A young kangaroo is kidnapped through a portal, and naturally, it falls on Kao’s shoulders to spring to the rescue once more.

The Eternal World, Eternal Crab
Giant enemy crab… Attack its weak point for massive damage!

Gameplay Changes

Most of the standard gameplay is the same, so I’m not going to readdress it. If you’re interested in my thoughts on the Kao the Kangaroo gameplay, you can check out my review of the base game. However, one thing that is new for the Bend the Rooles DLC is the introduction of time trials. I thought this was an interesting touch, and added urgency, something that was lacking in the campaign. Personally I found that the timers were rather lenient, and I often had several seconds left. However, I’ve seen other reviewers complaining that there wasn’t enough time, so perhaps I’m just unnaturally quick. It could depend on your play style.

Bend the Rooles DLC review, Time trials
Gotta go fast!

I found that the DLC had a noticeable difficulty spike compared to the campaign. I would like to make it known that I am very good at platforming. I’m not one to boast unnecessarily, and will happily hold my hands up and admit when there’s an area of my skill that’s lacking (for example, I suck at most shooter games), but platforming is one area where I truly excel. So if even I’m finding it tricky, that means it’s going to be a real challenge for the majority of players. That’s great if you’re looking for something tough to get your teeth into, but personally I felt it was too intense for a mascot platformer. These are supposed to be fun, not overly frustrating.

The final point to make on gameplay is the level length. The DLC includes 5 levels, but they’re considerably larger than the ones you’re used to. You’re looking at easily 15-20 minutes to complete each one, and that’s assuming no restarts.

Difficult platforming
One touch of the lava and you’re dead.

Some Key Issues

Oh gosh, where to begin. There’s so much wrong with this DLC. Some of it is issues that have always been present, and some are new problems. Either way, when combined together, they make it almost unplayable. These were the problems I couldn’t ignore for this Bend the Rooles DLC review. I rage quit in the end, so here’s a short summary of why.

Problems That Were in the Main Game

  • You still glitch through walls randomly – You walk up to a door/ wall, and then oop! You’re suddenly on the other side.
  • You can’t explore the levels in an order of your choice – You need runes to unlock them, meaning you have to play in order. I get that it was a purposeful decision by the developers, but it was a bad one. There should be at least 2 options to choose from in case you get stuck on a level.
Bend the Rooles DLC review, Level cleared
These levels were much longer than I was used to with Kao the Kangaroo.
  • No active camera – I’m so fed up of the ridiculous lack of an active camera. In a 3D platformer where you’re constantly moving around, it should be a given that you don’t have to move the camera passively just to see where you’re going. If Spyro: Gateway to Glimmer could have an active camera in 1999, Kao the Kangaroo should be able to program one in 2023.
  • The music is always cutting out – Often I’d load into a level only to be greeted by complete silence. I’d have sound effects for fighting and the like, but no music. It was disconcerting, and made the game feel boring. It would also sometimes cut out midway through a level.
Kao the Kangaroo, Volcano Peaks level design
With the frequent silence, at least the level designs were beautiful.

Problems That are New to the DLC

  • Unwarranted difficulty spike – I could maybe get over it if it were due purely to the platforming, but a lot of the difficulty comes from flaws in the game design. Whether it’s simply the lack of an active camera, or mechanics not working as they should, there were too many things beyond my control that were causing me to lose lives.
  • Broken mechanics – There are several subtle examples of this, but I’ll go with the most abrasive one I discovered. In the Forgotten Monastery, there’s a section that’s completely pitch black, so you need to follow the fireflies. These are supposed to light your path so you can see. Except they don’t. If you die and go back to the start, the fireflies don’t return, so you’re stuck fumbling around. And even if you don’t die, sometimes the fireflies don’t produce any light around them, so you’re still stumbling into the dark.
Bend the Rooles DLC review, Fireflies mechanic
I can see the fireflies, but the path itself is still shrouded in darkness!
  • You can get stuck – I fell behind a platform 20 minutes into a level and I ended up stuck. There was no way out, and I was forced to restart. This should not be a thing. This was right near the end of the 3rd level, and it was the moment I decided I was done. I closed the game and haven’t been back to it since.
  • It’s not always clear where to go – With the levels being larger, they’re somehow even more linear. And yet, despite that, it’s not always clear where to go. Level boundaries aren’t made obvious, and I found myself wandering aimlessly a lot.
Glitched and got stuck in a wall.
This was my view stuck within the wall for a few minutes before I finally gave up and quit.

Verdict

I wanted to like this so badly, but I just couldn’t. It’s a huge shame because I was really excited when I saw that there was a new DLC out. I couldn’t wait to play it, but all it’s brought me is disappointment. My score may seem harsh, but believe me, it’s generous. I’m only giving it as many points as I am purely because I love the graphics and the general concept. The game has way too many bugs to warrant anything higher than this.

I’m really hoping that the developers get their act together. They have a great mascot in Kao, and there’s so much they could do with him. They just need to make the details more polished. If they were to fix the flaws and glitches this could be so good. I’ll still happily play any future DLC they release, but I just hope it’s better than this one, as they really dropped the ball here.

What did you think of my Kao the Kangaroo: Bend the Rooles DLC review? Is it something you could see yourself playing? Join the discussion over in our Facebook community, or tweet me on Twitter.

Kao the Kangaroo: Bend the Rooles DLC (Xbox Series X)

£6.59
6.4

Verdict

6.4/10

Pros

  • Fun and colourful graphics
  • Interesting new gameplay concepts

Cons

  • Absolutely full of bugs
  • The new mechanics don't always work as they should
  • Unwarranted difficulty spike, considerably harder than the base game
  • No new wardrobe options for beating levels

By Screen Hype

Hi! I'm Melika Jeddi, a content writer and aspiring author. I've created Screen Hype to share my unique brand of entertaining articles with the world, and to create a fun space that everyone can feel a part of :)