Inspired mightily by Donkey Kong Country 2 (1995) and the DKC SNES trilogy, here we have Kaze and the Wild Masks.
From Brazilian developer PixelHive, it’s a love letter to the ’90s and throws in some clever level design along the way. Oh yeah!
Kaze and the Wild Masks is All About the Platforms
This is available on Steam, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.
Kaze and the Wild Masks initially appears like a hodgepodge of all manner of ’90s platformers. Primarily the DKC trilogy, but elements of Rayman and Sonic are in there.
The game has that glossy graphical sheen the likes of Sonic and the most excellent Rayman Origins have.
But it did, at first, feel like a hodgepodge. It was to the extent we weren’t really sure what the game wanted to be. Did it have an identity?
Certainly, the plot is nothing much. You star as the rabbit Kaze and you’re in the Crystal Islands. Your mission is to save your friend Hogo and stop a curse spreading across the island.
The first six stages of the first world are what triggered our concerns. Nothing inspired. Nothing new. Just generic as all hell.
But then the second world kicks in.
And that’s when you realise Kaze and the Wild Masks is a very good platformer indeed. Check out level two, Slingshot Ride.
Now, if you’ve ever played the original Donkey Kong Country (1994) you’ll know what’s going on there. It’s a direct nod to the barrel heavy levels.
There’s plenty of that type of homage going on. But we must point out the game also has some very clever level design of its own.
Plus, little additions that alleviate some of the minor frustrations of DKC (like being able to immediately replay the bonus missions).
It’s very engaging and, yeah, we loved playing what’s essentially a modern take on Rare’s classics games.
Although, you know, there’s also Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for that, too. Which is the far superior game over Kaze.
Not least as it has another incredible soundtrack by David Wise.
And that’s kind of a strange issue with Kaze and the Wild Masks. The soundtrack by Paulo Bohrer can be hit and miss. It’s a bit samey and often doesn’t do much to stand out, although there are some great little numbers.
You can hear it’s trying to replicate Wise’s work from the Donkey Kong Country trilogy. And other times it’s riffing on the Rayman Origins soundtrack by Christophe Héral.
This is an area we do think Kaze might have benefited from forging a unique identity, but otherwise the soundtrack is inoffensive and in the background.
It’s just not particularly memorable.
Anyway, that aside, after our initial reservations about Kaze and the Wild Masks we must confirm we really like the game.
Helping us along there enormously is our tremendous adoration of the Donkey Kong Country trilogy on the SNES.
But Kaze riffs on the formula and adds enough into the mix for it to be a glorious homage, whilst also offering some engaging new ideas along the way.