Khara: The Game is a beautifully designed adventure game developed by a small team known as DNA Softworks. The team consists of students from U-TAD, the University Center for Technology and Digital Art in Madrid, Spain. Despite Khara: The Game being their first commercial game, they have put together a fun, interesting story with likeable characters. However, there are a few flaws in the game, but if you can ignore them, it really is an enjoyable experience.
The game begins by telling us some context – Khara and her Father have been caught in a bad storm while out on their boat. They fall overboard and end up washing ashore on an island where Khara witnesses her Father being dragged away by strange rock creatures. After this cutscene is where I came across my first problem with the game. The screen went black and wouldn’t load up, I left it for a few minutes but eventually, I had to restart the game, and that was only 5 minutes in. When I actually began playing the game, I was a bit unsure of what to do. There were no objectives and nothing to guide you, so after running around for a bit and exploring my surroundings, I came across an owl, who acted as my guide and told me where to go which was really helpful. The surroundings and landscape in the game is beautiful, you can tell the developers have put a lot of time and effort into making the game look appealing, and having such detailed game design definitely gave me an overall better experience while playing.
Something really noticeable in the game is the frequent spelling mistakes and broken English, however, this is due to the team from DNA Softworks being Spanish, it doesn’t affect the game in any way, but it just makes the game look a little incomplete. One of the main issues in the game that frustrated me was the movement of the character. While running, or climbing stairs, or even walking, it doesn’t feel like you are on the ground at all because the character glides across the ground/up the stairs, instead of taking actual steps. Again, this could be because it is the studio’s first game, it’s just a bit of a shame because even something as small as that could’ve made the game look so much better. Another fault with the character movements is the swimming animation, swimming is very slow, and it feels like it takes ages to swim anywhere.
The combat in the game is quite disappointing. When you acquire powers, I was expecting to see some great combat animations and attacks but unfortunately, when you hit enemies it doesn’t look like they are affected by it at all because they don’t jump back or move after you hit them. This gives the game a really incomplete feel and it is issues like this that make it feel like a very low-budget title. Throughout the game, you unlock new abilities and weapons, such as an ability to teleport, and an ice spray that can freeze enemies – these are very helpful, and it opens up the game, allowing you to do more things such as freeze water creatures or freeze water to get across places. In terms of enemies in the game, they are quite easy to defeat, however, there are a few bosses which are difficult to fight against until you get used to the controls and all the new abilities/weapons. These boss fights don’t take up a lot of time in the game, as puzzle-solving and exploring take up quite a lot of time too.
The music in the game is somewhat disappointing, it seems to be on a continuous loop until enemies arrive and then it instantly changes to battle music. I feel like the game would have flowed better if the music merged into each other rather than just cutting the track off completely, then starting it off from the beginning once you have finished the fight. However, the music did really suit the game and it was quite relaxing, it was just a bit off-putting when it changes so quickly.
The last negative thing I have to mention is the option to interact. Quite a few times throughout the game I walked up to objects to interact with them but the interact button just didn’t appear, and it wouldn’t let me do anything, however, this was quickly solved by walking away and walking back to the object.
Khara: The Game is a short, fun game that will take you around 3 hours to complete. You unlock trophies during gameplay, so it isn’t hard to get a platinum trophy. Aside from its weaknesses, the developers have created an entertaining, exciting adventure game with a good story and interesting characters, which is a huge achievement for their first ever game. Hopefully the feedback they receive from players will help them in creating their next game, which I will definitely be playing.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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