Kraino Origins is an action platformer developed and published by Elden Pixels. It takes inspiration from retro platformers that we all love and adore. Mixed with smooth controls and bopping music, there’s a lot to love about this game.
There isn’t much of a story to Kraino Origins, though there is a brief cut scene upon starting a new file. You play as Kraino, a skeleton man wielding a scythe to defeat all evil. You travel with the protagonist through eight primary levels of platforming, defeating zombies, ghosts, ghouls, gargoyles, and the like. Also, there are plenty of level hazards to avoid, such as fireballs, pits, spikes, swinging saws, and more.
In terms of gameplay, this title is simple enough. Each level is a side scroller where you move Kraino through the motions of getting to the end to defeat the boss. These levels are relatively in-depth, though. You can go through them, defeating the enemies that stand in your way, fight the boss, and move on.
However, there are hidden areas in the levels through alternative ways leading to dead ends or breakable walls. These parts contain either a blue soul, which increases your magic meter, or a green soul fragment. There are three soul fragments in each level, and collecting all three will give you one soul, increasing your health meter. In addition, each complete soul will allow you to upgrade your magic weapons.
In Kraino Origins, your only physical attack is to use the scythe. A merchant can be found in six of the eight levels. He’ll sell magic attacks, such as fireballs or axe throws. After level four, you can visit the merchant at his home for extra money and one soul to upgrade each magic attack.
Earning money is easy enough. Defeated enemies will drop coins and magic. You can also find money and magic in the lamp posts riddled throughout each level. However, you’ll lose money when you die (and you will die a lot). However, a money bee will remain where you died, so you can get it back if you make it to that point in the level again.
This title shouldn’t take you more than a few hours to get through. However, if you’re like me, it’ll take you longer. Each level is designed well, with its enemies and hazards increasing slightly from the previous level. The levels are trial and error to get through since you never know what’s up ahead. Luckily, there are many checkpoints so you can persevere without rage quitting. A boss waits at the end of each level, which is a nice challenge. They each have a set of moves they use but no actual pattern to them. Each time to try to fight the boss, it feels like a brand new fight. It was frustrating sometimes, but it felt so good when I finally became victorious!
In between each level is a challenge level. These are shorter without checkpoints, and you can skip them if you want. I played them to earn more money and practice my platforming skills, knowing the next real level would be a bigger challenge. I often returned to the first and second levels (including their bonus levels) to collect more money after dying so many times in later levels. It added more gameplay and replayability for me.
I certainly enjoyed my time with Kraino Origins. The controls were simple, smooth, and I never ran into any glitches. Each level and bonus could be played and replayed to earn more money, practice platforming, or try to find that one soul fragment you missed. The bosses were challenging but not frustrating. I can see myself replaying this game again.
Review: Kraino Origins (Nintendo Switch)
Kraino Origins is a brief platforming game that allows plenty of room for replayability. It’s challenging enough to keep going without wanting to rage quit. The graphics are charming, the music is fun, and the controls are simple and smooth.