KAKU: Ancient Seal is an open-world adventure title set in the Stone Age where you take control of the titular young boy who sets off to restore balance to the lands.
After being introduced to the three main characters — Geiser, the old man who guides the boy through his journey; Kaku's pet pig, who, aside from being adorable, brings unique abilities with it; and the protagonist, Kaku, who finds out he has a special destiny — you are introduced to a very in-depth tutorial that ranges from teaching you systems like crafting to movement.
This debut title by BINGOBELL plays very similarly to Zelda: Breath of the Wild, as there are tons of temples to find hidden throughout the world. Each one has a puzzle or gimmick you have to solve, and the variety is quite satisfying. From jumping on lilypads to solving a timed puzzle, the challenges are fun and short; they provide a good reason to explore the lands to find them and aren't overwhelming, long, or taxing.
Aside from locating and completing temples, you'll need to scavenge for all sorts of resources. This is one of the most important aspects of the game, as everything you pick up serves a greater purpose: whether you need it to make food to heal and gain buffs or craft pellets and armour, ideally, you grab everything in sight. I was quite pleased with the way the developer handled the inventory, as you can collect as many as 999 of the raw material but you can only take six of each food and pellet; of course, you can upgrade this to carry more later. This limit worked well to keep foraging relevant and necessary but stop the game from becoming too easy by just allowing you to hoard meals and pellets.
The crafting's progression felt great, and it's largely thanks to how BINGOBELL handled raw materials and collection. Anything that you can upgrade — which is basically everything — has its own materials, meaning that you will rarely have to choose which one to upgrade first as long as you forage properly.
Aside from temples, upgrading, and collecting materials, you'll also spend a lot of time in battle. There are tons of enemies sprawled across the world, and there is quite a variety of them; not only do they look different, but they each also have their own battle gimmicks. Each enemy has a bar under their health that you ideally deplete before you hit them; once you completely lower it, they'll get stunned and receive more damage. This helped keep the combat from being too easy, especially when paired with the stamina system.
Whilst the combat mostly flows quite comfortably, there's something sluggish about Kaku's movement; this is particularly noticeable during parkour and when he takes damage. It wasn't so bad that I hated it, but it definitely took away some of my desire to explore and fight.
In addition to dodging, shield-bashing, and melee combat, Kaku can also use his slingshot to hit enemies from far away, offering a nice variety. And if that wasn't enough, you can also unlock a ton of abilities that allow even deeper customisation of your combat style.
KAKU: Ancient Seal is a very promising debut title, as it does an excellent job of evoking a feeling of adventure whilst exploring these gorgeous lands. The variety of things to do keeps the game from becoming stale, the characters and their interactions are quite comical, and the satisfaction of being able to upgrade items from foraging is phenomenal.
If you like adventure titles with a ton of chests, temples, and items to collect and explore, there's no reason not to keep an eye on KAKU: Ancient Seal! It has humour, puzzles, and fighting; there's little more you could want from an adventure!