by William Thompson
previewed on PC
There's generally something enjoyable about co-op games, particularly those that require collaboration to reach the end goal. Some, such as Overcooked can turn into mayhem with short time limits turning players into crazy screaming monsters as they bark out orders to their co-op teammates. KarmaZoo is similar in that it promotes co-operation, but without the time pressures of other co-op titles, it can be played at a more relaxing pace. We got the chance to preview the game at PAX AUS and sit down to chat about the game with Nadim Haddad – founding partner of Pastagames and one of the developers behind KarmaZoo.
KarmaZoo is a 2 to 10 player online co-operative game that has players taking on the role of a blob, one that can morph into one of a number of various animals (hence the zoo part of KarmaZoo) and other objects. Each of these creatures have their own special skills which will help the team move through the levels, for example, the elephant is great for bashing down walls, the hamster is quick and great at turning wheels to operate machinery, whilst the clam is great at sticking to walls, allowing teammates to use the clam as a ledge to reach higher locations.
Players who spend too much time alone will falter, whilst those who remain connected will garner more karma points at the end of the game. Working together is the goal, and at time this will mean sacrificing your character to help others progress. Nadim also proudly added that the game will be available in 22 languages at launch – including Arabic which was a monumental task for the designers and artists due to the right-to-left readability - enabling a large community to help each other out from all over the world.
KarmaZoo is split into four different worlds each with contrasting designs – Desert (which was shown at PAX AUS), Oasis, Temple and Space, giving the game some added visual variety. For the most part, the level design and characters have an old school pixelized visual design allowing the game mechanics and puzzle elements to shine through, but the backgrounds are gorgeous and reflective of the different world.
Nadim mentioned that although there are 300 levels – which is amazing - the levels will adapt depending on the size and composition of your team, so no two runs through a level will be the same. When asked how many characters you can choose from, Nadim indicated that there are currently 50 to collect, but was open to any suggestions for new characters to add into the game for future updates. Players will also be able to grow their karma skills so that eventually they could become a Sherpa.
Co-op games are fairly common these days, but there hasn’t been one focuses on karma – and even anti-bullying - as the main point scoring mechanism. Sticking together with other teammates, sacrificing yourself so that others can progress and using your character's skills to solve the simple puzzles the game offers, is a joy. The visuals are delightful, controls easy to pick up and the fact that there are over 300 levels which adapt to the player composition will ensure that the game doesn't get stale. And with KarmaZoo's release scheduled for November 15, we're excited to see what else the game has to offer.
We at Hooked Gamers would like to take this opportunity to thank Nadim for his time in chatting with us and showing us through the version of KarmaZoo on display at PAX AUS.
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