Also on: Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Developer: Chibig/Talpa Games/Undercoders
A couple of years ago, I reviewed a mostly forgettable game called Summer in Mara. I say “mostly forgettable” because I actually remember two things about the game: its look was very obviously inspired by Wind Waker, and its gameplay consisted of lots and lots of repetitive chores.
While Koa And The Five Pirates of Mara isn’t a direct sequel to Summer in Mara, it’s part of the same universe. And while the gameplay is different – this time out, the developers are trying their hands at 3D platforming – the end result is similar: Koa is also a mostly forgettable game.
The good news, such as it is, is that a forgettable 3D platformer is a lot more tolerable than a forgettable life/farming sim. While Koa And The Five Pirates of Mara may not do anything particularly original, it also doesn’t ask you to devote 20+ hours of your life to it the way Summer in Mara did. You can see everything Koa has to offer in well under ten hours (even less if you take a speed-run approach), and all it takes is a bit of running, jumping, and maybe gathering collectibles if the mood strikes you.
Unfortunately, there’s not a moment in that 5-10 hours that’s even remotely memorable. The levels don’t mix it up that much, and even having a hub world where the eponymous Koa can interact with other villagers doesn’t give the game or its characters much in the way of personality. The only thing that stood out for me as I was playing was when I stumbled across the button that makes Koa run – and it’s hardly a good thing when the highlight of a game is figuring out a way to make it end faster.
On that front, the levels are generally pretty linear, and don’t reward exploration beyond hiding a few extra (and pointless) collectibles, which means that once you figure out how to run (as opposed to slowly skipping through each level), you can basically make a beeline for the finish. Further, running makes it possible to jump greater distances – which, again, removes even more of the challenge that may be associated with some of the tougher-seeming jumps.
If none of that sounds downright bad, that’s because it’s not – Koa And The Five Pirates of Mara is perfectly serviceable, as 3D platformers go. And it’s certainly more fun than Summer in Mara. But it’s lacking in any kind of spark of inspiration, and for that reason, it’s every bit as forgettable as its predecessor.
Chibig provided us with a Koa And The Five Pirates of Mara PC code for review purposes.