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Review: Kula World (PlayStation)By Ofisil At 09.07.2018 22:33

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The hero (or is it heroine?) of this enjoyable adventure is nothing more than a beach ball; a beach ball that rolls around the lanes of a 3D maze with alternative physics; a beach ball that collects keys for the exit of the stage, which is also capable of eating fruit to gather points. Yes, the concept is rather far-out, but that's part of the videogame charm, correct? Anyways, that sums up what Kula World. Is it fun? The short answer is a big, glowing, 'yes.' The long answer is as follows…

For starters it's a very… zen kind of game that just feels good to play. It's bright, it's colorful, the music is soothing, and the way the level floats in the stratosphere enhances the "dreamy" vibe of it all. The real reason, of course, is that this isn't just fun to look and listen at, but mainly fun to play, although it's somewhat hard to pinpoint exactly why, as the idea behind it is far from groundbreaking - just a matter of collecting keys and reaching the exit.

Of course, it's not really just that. For starters, the action takes place with alternative gravity, which is dependent on which side of a platform the ball is - oh, yeah, this spherical hero can actually move around like Spider-Man. As expected, the levels are filled with all sorts of hazards, so it's all a matter of finding the correct route, and doing some carefully calculated platforming. Thankfully, the controls are simple and responsive through all this, thus players can simply focus on the fun of it all.

Along with the very good level design, Kula World's biggest strength is probably how balanced everything is. The difficulty curve, especially, is perfect, as the challenge rises in the most comfortable pace, by slowly throwing more traps at you, and making the levels more complex - and, thankfully, there is an abundance of obstacles at hand, like spikes, icy surfaces, lava blocks, and many more, so it never feels as if the game has run out of ideas.

While it's possible to raise the score by collecting coins and gems, eating (complete with munching sound) fruits, or playing a bonus level, these points aren't there just for show. Instead, these play the role of the health bar, thus, the higher the score, the higher your chances at survival. This manages to keep things a little more interesting, but it's a shame that collecting points is tied to relatively simplistic mechanics, instead of awarding the player for being more effective at clearing a stage.

Wrapping up, Kula World is an enjoyable title. Sadly, there's not much point in replaying the levels. This is definitely one of those games that sort of lose their spark after completion, as there are no extra objectives to complete, or time trial modes... sort of. Well, there is a Time Trial mode on offer, but it can only be enjoyed when playing along with a friend, and it's not really something to write home about - which can safely be said about the 2-player modes as a whole, too.

In this Time Trial two people attempt to complete a stage as fast as possible, but instead of splitting the screen in two, players have to take turns in trying their luck. As for the second mode on offer, it's a pretty boring memory test, with players having to copy the moves of each other, again, by taking turns. Having said that, though, in the end, Kula World might not be perfect, but it remains a pretty entertaining puzzle-platformer, even after all these years.

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Final Score
While [i]Kula World[/i] looks unique, it really isn't. It's a simple 3D puzzle-platformer, with simple mechanics, simple rules, and simple controls - but it's a fun simple 3D puzzle-platformer. As its only real issues are the relatively low replay value, and the subpar 2-player mode, this is a title that's highly recommended for genre fans, and PS-era retro-lovers.

7

/10

User Comments
#1 davyK - on 16.02.2019 at 22:34


Have always liked the look of this one but never saw it in the wild and just never got around to picking a copy up online.  I'm into Kororinpa on Wii and I think that's a better game going by this review. Still might pick it up at some time though.

#2 Ofisil - on 17.02.2019 at 12:39

davyK said:
Have always liked the look of this one but never saw it in the wild and just never got around to picking a copy up online.  I'm into Kororinpa on Wii and I think that's a better game going by this review. Still might pick it up at some time though.

It's no Metal Gear Solid, FFVII or Tomb Raider, but I strongly believe that no PS1 collection is complete without it.

#3 RudyC3 - on 17.02.2019 at 17:29

davyK said:
Have always liked the look of this one but never saw it in the wild and just never got around to picking a copy up online.  I'm into Kororinpa on Wii and I think that's a better game going by this review. Still might pick it up at some time though.

Kororinpa is more about skills and reflexes whereas Kula World is a puzzle-heavy game where you can take your time to stop and think about your nextt move. I don't think it's fair to compare both since they offer very different experiences. There was a PC game several years back called Ballance (I think it was distributed by Atari off the top of my head) which would be midway between Kula World for the aesthetics, atmosphere and puzzles, and Kororinpa for the skills required and reflexes. Loved it back then!

I never owned or played Kula World in full but pretty much everyone I knew had it on a demo disc, that's how I came to know it, by playing the demo.

( Edited 17.02.2019 17:32 by RudyC3 )


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