Publisher: DreamCatcher Games
Developer: JoWood Entertainment
Platform(s): Nintendo DS
Genre: Action, Platforming
ESRB Content Descriptors: Comic Relief, Mild Language, Use of Alcohol
The Scoop: DreamCatcher Games and JoWood Entertainment give the PS2 action-adventure game a non-violent port to the Nintendo DS.
The Setup: The setting and plot for the Legend of Kay stays pretty much intact to the original PS2 version. Kay is a young cat that lives on the mystical island of Yenchling, in the Chinese sea. Not only is the island of Yenchling home to cats, but other animals as well, such as panda’s and frogs, with each group living in their own society. You would imagine that the inhabitants of any mystical island would live a peaceful existence, and the animals of Yenchling were no exception. Until one day when the Gorilla Emperor Shun and the Rat Alchemist Ta, swept in with their forces causing total chaos in an attempt to takeover the island of Yenchling. And so begins Kay’s quest to protect his fellow cats and reclaim the island of Yenchling from the Gorilla Emperor Shun.
What’s Hot: Players control Kay through a third person view on the top screen, while various interaction and text sequences play out on the bottom screen. Part of the story is also told through a comic book style story panel that act as cut-scenes on the top screen of the Nintendo DS. This layout works pretty well for the Nintendo DS and gives the players a neat way to follow the story.
While DreamCatcher Games and JoWood Entertainment have kept the original story and premise, they’ve taken all of the sword-swinging violent action out of the Nintendo DS version. Instead, Legend of Kay is filled with platforming, puzzle solving, and fetch quests, giving the game a completely non-violent setting. Kay runs around the island of Yenchling dodging enemies, jumping on them, or finding a way to avoid them. So, is that a good thing? It depends on how you look at it. If you’re a parent of a younger gamer than yes, this is a very good thing! You won’t have to worry about your child hacking and slashing away at gorillas or other enemies, and you won’t have to worry about blood and gore.
The included puzzles and fetch quests were pretty easy, so gamers shouldn’t have much trouble jumping into the game. Not only is this beneficial to younger gamers, but also the casual crowd as well – no lengthy or complicated tutorials needed here.
What’s Not: The first issue that I noticed in the Legend of Kay was the map area that populates the bottom screen of the Nintendo DS throughout your adventure. Unfortunately, the map doesn’t display your current location, your route, or where you need to go, so players are left following an on-screen arrow which points in the general direction of your goal. It definitely would have been easier to navigate through Yenchling with an active map.
Another aspect of the game that seemed watered down was the overall presentation – it was decent, but nothing stellar. Some of the environments and societies were pretty plain and would have benefited from added detail as well as more personality. Sometimes the island of Yenchling didn’t feel that “mystical” as well as a little empty or shallow.
The platforming was also a mixed bag. Most of the time there weren’t any problems, but on a few occasions certain jump sequences didn’t work as planned due to a bad camera angle, or not being able to tell how far or how short to jump.
And as I mentioned earlier, the Nintendo DS version of Legend of Kay brings a completely non-violent setting to handheld gamers. If you’re the type of gamer looking to restore peace to the island of Yenchling by swinging around a magical sword, this game may not be for you.
Final Verdict: Although the port of Legend of Kay to the Nintendo DS seems to work out pretty well, I feel like some aspects of the game were not utilized to their fullest potential. Sure, some of the platforming can be a bit frustrating at times, but it’s tolerable. Putting those annoyances aside, the Legend of Kay for the Nintendo DS would be a game I’d recommend to parents of younger gamers and anyone looking for a more platforming or puzzle driven game.
Review - Legend of Kay ,