Legend of Kay returns to modern day consoles and computers in a 10th anniversary remake. Perhaps not the most well-known of all the remakes that are out today, it is still a game we were happy to see again. Read our review to find out why.
The past five years have been filled with HD remasters, remakes, ‘ultimate editions’ and all of sorts of other monikers for re-releases of older games for the latest generation of console and PCs. While some may argue the lack of creativity involved in this process, many of them have been well-received. The Last of Us is now considered one of the best PS4 games even though it was originally made for PS3, and smaller productions like Castle of Illusion and Ducktales have also been greeted with enthusiasm. This shows that successful remakes can be based on a 25+ year old 8-bit game, or one that was only released a year or two ago for a system that’s still going strong.
The Legend of Kay’s 10th Anniversary edition sits somewhere in between. It’s not one of those games that’s still “top of mind” for gamers, as was the case for the remasters of games like Ico or the God of War games. It’s also not a timeless classic brought back from the eighties or nineties. Instead, it’s remake of a game originally released on the PS2 – where it was unfortunately overshadowed by games like Jak & Dexter and Ratchet & Clank. I say unfortunately, because Legend of Kay was always a well-executed action platformer that nailed all the basics of the genre. The controls and camera work well, the art style is colorful and it’s very much a family-friendly affair despite a good share of combat throughout the adventure.
The story is light-hearted and fun – following your journey which is heavily inspired by martial arts stereotypes and laid out using a variety of animals as your main characters (Kay himself, for instance, is a young cat). Think Kung Fu Panda before there was Kung Fu Panda. Just as in that movie, the fighting here is cartoon-like instead of filled with blood and gore. That accessibility translates into the rest of the game as well, because you don’t have to be a gamepad ninja to survive all but the toughest of situations. Perhaps the toughest challenges lie in the occasional puzzles – which have been well, and creatively, designed. They’re always doable, but younger gamers might need some help.
It’s great to see that Legend of Kay’s core fundamentals still work well, even 10 years after it was originally released. The graphics were never groundbreaking to begin with and no amount of HD polish was ever going to fix that, but what’s there has stood the test of time as a no-frills approach to platforming. The story, which focuses on Kay’s quest to reach his true martial arts potential while battling with various enemies, is fun to experience again – especially if you keep in mind that this was released well before Kung Fu Panda ever went into production.
So while its developers didn’t revisit a timeless classic when they made this anniversary edition, they did bring back a rock solid 3D platformer that’s still fun to play today – in an age where we don’t get many of them anymore. If you have fun memories of playing Ratchet & Clank, Jak & Daxter, the Crash games of any other platformer of that era – don’t hesitate in picking up Legend of Kay’s 10th anniversary edition – you’ll enjoy it, and so will your kids.