I have been playing videogames for many years, but I can honestly say that I’ve never played a game that had players online working together cooperatively as you do in KarmaZoo. Developer Pastagames has created a platformer that has you teaming up with up to 10 random players online. To be successful, everyone will need to work together and help the others out, as each character has its own special abilities. As an example, all the players will need to form a chain of electricity to get power to a lightbulb. Another task may be as simple as one player standing on a button to open a path for all the other players.
Before you get to jump into “The Loop”, the online section, you will need to learn how to traverse the levels. You are trapped here without a body; the form that you take on is that of a blob (and a very cute blob at that!). All the characters in the game are simple with pixelated outlines; my character's main outline colour is white with a thin black line to make it really pop out from the background. You have the option to switch the colours to whatever makes you happy. KarmaZoo also has accessibility settings that can be changed to adapt the game.
Once your blob lands on the level, you will learn how to control it. KarmaZoo gives you the option to play with a keyboard or controller; I played using my Xbox gamepad. Like most platformers, you control the direction which your character moves using the left thumbstick. Your character has a circle around it that is known as your halo. As long as you have it, your bodies are unlimited, and you can drop tombstones that mark where you died so that you can use it as a platform to get over the obstacle that is in your way. To traverse the levels, your little blob can do a tiny jump using the A button and sing using B. This voice has the power to change the world and will be incredibly useful on your journey. Singing at objects with a musical note on them will cause an action to occur, like a door or gate opening or a platform flipping to the right side up. This won’t only help your character but the others that you are playing with in The Loop.
You will have to play through the tutorial to learn the basics before you are unleashed into the main game. KarmaZoo has two different modes that you can play: The Loop, which is the online platformer multiplayer where you play on a team of up to 10 random players, or Totem, the local multiplayer mode — or online with friends if you share the room code — that has you playing a selection of minigames.
The main mode of the game is The Loop; every run that you play is going to be totally different based on the character you choose to play as, along with all the other players that are on your team and the bonus that you pick. Based on the number of players on your team, the least you can have is two, a level will be selected from the available 300 for your team to challenge next. Working together and doing well will earn you Karma to use towards unlocking new characters to play as. There are 50 different sprites that you can acquire, each with its own abilities and cost to purchase. To be successful in this mode, you will need to stay close to your teammates. Your halo will shrink when you aren’t near the other players until it pops and you vanish until you reach the next portal, but sometimes you may need to sacrifice yourself to help the team!
The Totem mode is definitely not cooperative like the Loop mode, and you won’t earn any Karma, but you also won’t lose any either, it’s just local multiplayer fun! The four different games available at the start are: Rush — where you all become pufferfish and race to the finish line — every participant gets to select the colour of their fish. Burn — your goal here is to light as many lanterns of fire as possible. Eat — This one is pretty obvious, ingest more fruit than your competitors. Descent — get to the very bottom of the screen faster than everyone else. All these minigames are incredibly short but provide a fun time!
Playing The Loop mode is a ton of fun, and I love how everyone has to work together to earn Karma. The Karma points are used in the Karma Pass, which is like a Battle Pass but, unlike other multiplayer games, totally free. All the players in the World will contribute Karma to unlock brand new characters — not already in the 50 available — that all the players will have access to. This is an amazing approach that is so unique from other titles!
KarmaZoo is easily one of the most joyful and friendly games that I have ever had the opportunity to play. Everything about it is zen-like, from the music to the visuals and gameplay, and adorable sound effects like characters snoring when they are bored. It’s not often that everyone wants to help each other succeed instead of just trying to take them out to become the overall winner. With the Karma Pass, all the players win, and that is an incredible feat to accomplish. Kudos to Pastagames for creating such a unique experience!
KarmaZoo (Reviewed on Windows)
Outstanding. Why do you not have this game already?
KarmaZoo is such a fun approach to online multiplayer games, that rewards you for being a good teammate. With great characters, the KarmaPass, and gameplay, you must play this!