Kaku Ancient Seal Review — Balancing The Elements

Kaku Ancient Seal's full release improved greatly upon the early version, making it a standout adventure game.
Kaku Ancient Seal Featured 2

Kaku Ancient Seal tells the story of Kaku, a young warrior who, while chasing a cute piggy, ends up finding himself undertaking the massive responsibility of solving the Elemental Imbalance and saving the world from a terrible, corrupting force. Along the way he will make new friends, enhance his arsenal of weapons and wield the power of gods as he wanders the world he hopes to save.

If this seems like a repost, I promise you you’re not seeing double. I have already reviewed a version of Kaku Ancient Seal. However, it was pointed out to me that I accidentally reviewed an older version of the game and not the finished product shipped on launch. I want to apologize to the developers of Kaku Ancient Seal for the uneducated score I originally gave the game. For parts of this review, I will be comparing how the released game holds up to the criticisms I made in my original review.

Something I criticized about the early access version of Kaku Ancient Seal was how the game handled its story telling. In the original, the pacing felt rushed, which, when paired with the poor localization at the time, made it feel like the player stumbled into the plot harder than Kaku did. In this updated version of the game, Kaku Ancient Seal actually has some really good pacing, substantially improved at the very least, and the story feels as though it unfolds naturally and in a way that kept me interested in ways the Early Access version failed to.

Kaku Ancient Seal Purple
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Kaku Ancient Seal features a massive open-world map, with four regions that you can travel to freely, each one corresponding to the Elemants and featuring an end-of-zone dungeon in the way of a hidden temple, Kaku has to explore. Giving the player the ability to freely travel around the map in Kaku Ancient Seal was a genius idea because it really shows off how great the world looks.

I complimented Kaku Ancient Seal’s graphics in my original review, but the world has come much farther in the game’s full version and is substantially more impressive. Graphically, the game looks better, but what I noticed the most was that Kaku’s levels felt much better designed in this version. The world was a lot more open, paths felt more intuitively designed, and overall, the game felt as though it had a much better flow.

Kaku Ancient Seal still reminds me of games of the PS2 era, with clever and cartoony world-building that feels at home with Jak and Daxter and Tak and the Power of JuJu. Kaku Ancient Seal is far from a carbon copy of any, but the way the game is designed awoke some latent nostalgia in me. If you are a fan of this era of games, Kaku Ancient Seal is sure to do the same for you.

One of the biggest focuses of Kaku Ancient Seal’s gameplay is the combat, which at its core is a pretty basic beat-em up. Left click to attack an enemy’s health bar, right click to attack their stamina bar, stunning/staggering them on successful depletion. Throw in some rolling here and there and some combo attacks, and you’ve got the just of it.

Kaku Ancient Seal Fire Mountain
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Where the combat in Kaku really stands out is when you start playing with the elemental powers granted by the game’s gods and spirits. Lighting spears help you clear out groups of enemies, while bubble shields and pig… Farts help you dash across the terrain. The game gives you a steadily evolving list of powers to play around with that helps you navigate the world and fight back any threats you’d face on your adventure in Kaku Ancient Seal.

In my first review of this game, I criticized how easy the combat was. I found that enemies were often stun-locked by light attacks, and bosses were easily dispatched with your slingshot. Kaku Ancient Seal’s full release certainly corrects these issues, adding real complexity to enemy move sets and giving bosses punishing ranged attacks that made trying to play back and snipe a bad idea.

Something I will say about the combat is that boss fights, in particular, can feel a little slow. This is due to the absolutely massive health bars these enemies receive, making challenging them a time-consuming burden. I felt like even on medium, these numbers could be toned down a bit, and it wouldn’t have made them less challenging or fun to fight.

Kaku Ancient Seal Boss Fight
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Kaku Ancient Seal features a puzzle element along with its ARPG mechanics. As someone who usually hates puzzles in video games, I can say that Kaku’s are fun enough and aren’t a source of any frustration. The worst thing a puzzle in a game like this can be is a distraction from the rest of the mechanics, but Kaku’s puzzles are just complicated enough to give you a quick brain teaser before returning to the action.

The full version of Kaku Ancient Seal improved upon many of the issues I had with the original and still maintains the aspects I enjoyed the most.

Kaku Ancient Seal Ponpon Minion
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Specifically, I am still a big fan of the creature design in Kaku Ancient Seal. Your enemies can vary from short cavemen with high-pitched voices and frightening masks to hairy yetis and fire-breathing dragon-chickens. Each region has its own take on the enemies, too, which adds further variation to the already diverse and interesting cast of characters.

The Final Word

Kaku Ancient Seal feels nostalgic for PS2 area adventure games featuring fantastic world-building and strong action-adventure mechanics. The game will take you in, invest you in its diverse and interesting world, and provide satisfying ways to grow your strength as you balance the elements and save the world from destruction.

9

Try Hard Guides received a PC review code for this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles on our Game Reviews page! Kaku Ancient Seal is available on Steam.

Erik Hodges

Erik Hodges

Erik Hodges is a hobby writer and a professional gamer, at least if you asked him. He has been writing fiction for over 12 years and gaming practically since birth, so he knows exactly what to nitpick when dissecting a game's story. When he isn't reviewing games, he's probably playing them.

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