Kraino Origins (Switch) Review

Originally released as a mobile game, Kraino Origins is a retro SNES-style action platformer that feels right at home on Switch. Caught somewhere between Shovel Knight and the original NES Ninja Gaiden, players will have plenty of tough-but-fair levels to traverse and enemies to best.

Playing as a skeleton that uses a scythe as a weapon, the ultimate goal is to reach the end of the stage. Of course there are tons of enemies and hazards along the way. The challenge is high, one that often requires trial-and-error but thankfully there is an infinite number of continues. Granted, death punishes players by reverting them to the latest checkpoint, one that is often far away, and currently collected gold is dropped. If you manage to make it back to the place of death, that gold can be recollected ala Shovel Knight. Most enemies drop gold to collect but players will usually have plenty stashed for the limited inventory upgrades found sporadically in shops.

Kraino Origins is a straightforward action platformer right down to the control scheme. One button jumps, another attacks, and there is a downward thrust move that causes the player to bounce off enemies like Scrooge McDuck’s cane in NES Duck Tales. However, this bounce attack is inconsistently frustrating. Sometimes it will work like a champ but other times you’ll take damage.  Not sure why this move works randomly but it is most unfair during boss battles as they are usually acts of attrition. Bosses will take numerous attempts before you learn their pattern and whittle down their bigger-than-they-should-be health bar.

These complaints are somewhat minor in comparison to the package as a whole.  The tightly designed levels, the 16-bit sharp pixelated spritework, and the groovy soundtrack merge together to result in a solid, old-school platforming experience.  Even the overworld map has charm and each stage features secret paths and collectables. Some stages are a bit too long, which also makes the soundtrack repeat for longer than it should, but all in all, fans of Shovel Knight and 8-bit-16-bit platformers will feel right at home. 

Not As Frustrating/Cheap As: the original NES Ninja Gaiden

Don’t Forget About: Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove

Also Play: Moon Diver (X360/PS3)

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

Please consider supporting me on Patreon.


Our Rating - 8.5


Total Score

The Shovel Knights meets Ninja Gaiden-ish gameplay is a highly polish retro throwback right down the presentation and difficulty.

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