OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes Review

If you didn't already know, OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes is based on a Cartoon Network series. It's basically a thinly-veiled allegory for the war between big box stores and Mom & Pop shops. On the one side you have a strip mall, Lakewood Plaza, anchored by the Bodega, a shop for super hero supplies and sundries, owned and managed by Mr. Gar. On the other, and literally across the street, sits the Boxmore store, a favorite shopping destination for villains and robots of ill-intent that is run by a corporation headed by Lord Boxman. Boxmore is always sending its employees across the street to attack the heroes, and the heroes always fight them off. The protagonist in this eternal struggle is K.O., a child who works at the Bodega and whose mom Carol owns a super hero training dojo in the strip mall. He's a hero-in-training, but his enthusiasm, energy, and desire to demonstrate that he has the skills to be a hero, often get him into trouble.

In OK K.O. the game, the Pow Card company has released a series of trading cards based on super heroes, and, of course, K.O. is not included in the release. This new series of trading cards is especially special though, in that the cards assign each hero a level, which is a sense of pride to them all, and have made it possible for powered-up cards to be used to briefly summon that hero to help you in battle. KO sets off to both try and collect as many power cards as he can and to do enough quests and good deeds for other characters that he is given a hero card of his own.

OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes screenshot 2

The game divides its levels into "days" and each one proceeds in a similar manner. K.O. arrives at the strip mall with his mom, picks up a quest or two, has a handful of battles with Boxmore enemies, and then heads home with mom at the end of the day. The quests are usually of the fetch variety, having you run back and forth across the handful of screens that make up the strip mall. You'll also find yourself in a handful of battles as part of these quests, and you can self-initiate additional battles by hitting one of the random assortment of Boxmore crates sitting around the strip mall.

Battles are 2D brawler style affairs that play out on a single screen. You'll face a handful of different enemy types who each have their own unique attack patterns, but fighting each one takes the same basic approach. You dodge attacks by doing a flip jump to the left or right, a move that is also used to put you into a position behind an enemy to initiate an attack. When you get behind an enemy you can land a quick series of punches before the enemy recovers and then you switch back to jumping back and forth again.

OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes screenshot 1

A little variety is added into the battles by the Pow cards. As you complete quests for the characters at Lakewood Plaza you'll level-up their Pow cards. Once a card is fully leveled, you can equip it for use in a fight, and you can keep up to two cards actively equipped at a time. The cards essentially become your special attacks. Once you fill your special attack meter by hitting enemies, you can press a button to unleash your Pow card attack. The character on the Pow card used will appear, make a high-powered attack, and then vanish. It's important to be aware of the type of attack each character will make, because if you aren't in the proper spot when you unleash the Pow attack it will all be for naught - a character dealing a high-powered low kick won't help if your enemy is in the air at the moment. The Pow card attacks are fun the first time you use them as you discover each character's special attack, but you'll probably just stick to your favorite two the whole game. Some may work better against some enemies rather than others, but you can't see who you will be facing in a battle until after the battle begins.

OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes certainly has some charm to it - the characters are interesting and the writing is enjoyable. However, the constant back-and-forth across the handful of screens that comprise Lakewood Plaza to fetch items for characters or continue conversations is tiresome, and the brawler battles are simply repetitive as you will use the same basic technique to win them all. Fans of the show may enjoy interacting with some of its characters and the game is interesting enough to pique a newcomer's interest in checking out the show, but from a gameplay standpoint alone OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes doesn't offer enough variety to keep brawler game fans engaged.

Final Rating: 60% - Fun characters save what is otherwise a repetitive and mundane brawler.


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