There’s been a resurgence of sorts regarding cute mascot-style platformers, but quite a few get out the gate looking a touch poorly. Not so for Kukoos: Lost Pets, which is immediately one of the best-presented games in its genre. It’s no graphics slave’s object of desire, but it’s vibrant, cheery, and features well-made original character design.
Be that as it may, the important part of the pudding is in the tasting, and after a few hearty bites of Kukkos, I’m fairly certain it’s a decent match for its visual presentation.
Kukoos Lost Pets Review (PS5) – This Planet of the Apes (And Their Pets) is a Solid Platformer
A Mascot-Style Platformer That’s Worth A Punt
Kukoos: Lost Pets tells the story of some rotund simian-like creatures known as…Kukoos. They live in harmony with their adorable little pets on a lovely island. Unfortunately, this blissful life is not enough for the Kukoos, as they decide they need to try out some experiments on their pets in order to make them more obedient.
That doesn’t go well, naturally, and players must use the various Kukoos available to them to recapture the errant, erratic pets they’ve unleashed on the island. Serves them right I say for taking their critters for granted.
The world the Kukoos inhabit is largely made up of water, save for their island home. Lucky for them, the great Kukoo tree that sits in the middle of this island houses doorways to secret worlds quite unlike their own. Well, sort of. It’s the usual array of platform game environments. I think it’s considered rude to not include a jungle level or a snow level in a platformer anyway, so fair play to Kukoos for being polite and ensuring that happens.
The game itself plays out in a similar vein to platformers such as Sackboy’s Big Adventure and Super Mario 3D World: a semi-fixed perspective that keeps the action fairly intimate in order to give the illusion of a grander scale. There’s smacking of adorable enemies and leaping from platform-to-platform.
This part of Kukoos: Lost pets is as stock standard as a platformer can be, and if we’re being particularly picky, it’s not a standout at those things, but underwhelming foundations are bolstered by the fun you have with the pets and the powers they unlock for the 12 (yes twelve!) playable characters.
Platforming Is A Bit Rough Around The Edges
By retrieving the lost pets (who have generally become a bit narky about being experimented on) the Kukoos can unlock special abilities that allow them to not only get through the puzzles of any given level, but to find the previously inaccessible secrets shut away without their presence.
There’s five pet types in total, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s enough to shake things up where it matters. I’d much rather a game focus on a handful of abilities and make the most of them instead of throwing a sack of them at you without letting them have a fair shot. No, Kukoos: Lost Pets keeps things streamlined and makes the most of its moveset.
I’m not the biggest fan of the actual platforming in this game. It’s not terrible by any scale; in fact, it’s generally quite decent. However, in places there’s poor communication as to where exactly you’re moving to at times, and dark areas are poorly laid out, leading to unfair restarts.
Fine for an adult to some degree (if a bit annoying) but for kids, these things add unnecessary and inexplicable difficulty spikes throughout when the rest of the game is a gentle mix of light puzzling and soft platforming in a vibrant world of talking monkeys with unruly pets. At least it manages to be a fun time otherwise.
Kukoo’s Multiplayer Is A Major Highlight
As with many games with issues, the great redeemer is in multiplayer, and Kukoos: Lost Pets offers cooperative play for up to four Kukoo-wannabes. This inarguably makes for a better family experience where you can guide younger players through the fiddlier bits by example (or indeed, get schooled by them). The game works nicely solo and with others, but there’s just something more involving about playing with others that made Kukoos feel far less like work.
Beyond the playing, Kukoos: Lost Pets’ biggest strength is in its cutscenes and humor. It’s kid-friendly stuff, but it’s delightfully silly and well animated stuff that is a rung above the usual fare on Nick Jr. There’d be worse things than a Kukoos TV show.
If you’re in the market for a truly family friendly game and you have the time to guide your kids through some iffy bits, then Kukoos: Lost Pets is a fine platformer with pretty damn good presentation.
Kukoos: Lost Pets is now available for PS4 & PS5.
Review code kindly provided by publisher.