[Nintendo Switch] Kraino Origins Review

by EdEN, Owner

Kraino Origins from Elden Pixels and GameAtomic is a fun 2D retro-styled action platformer on Nintendo Switch. Learn more about it in our Kraino Origins review!

Kraino Origins from Elden Pixels and GameAtomic is a fun 2D retro-styled action platformer on Nintendo Switch. As you take on the role of the titular character, you’ll be exploring a world inhabited by ghouls, ghosts, skeletons, and more. Dr. Bacula has created an army of monsters. To counter this, and with the help of magic and science, Kraino was created to aid in fighting against the forces of evil, reanimated to use its strength to take on the eight different stages that the game has to offer.

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If from checking out the trailer and screens in this Kraino Origins review you start to get a bit of a Shovel Knight vibe, that’s very much intentional. You’ll activate special lamps to save your progress as you play through each level. If you’re defeated, you’ll lose some of your money, but you’ll be able to recover it if you reach the spot where you were defeated and grab the flying gold bag thingy. It also has a good dose of Castlevania in there, what with the flying skulls that behave like the beloved medusa heads or the mermen that jump out of the water in the sewers level.

Single-person indie dev GameAtomic – a.k.a. Angel Dorantes – took the project to Kickstarter last year, seeking $30,000 in funding to be able to complete the development of the game. The thing is that the Kickstarter campaign was for Krainos ReAnimated. Even though 225 backers pledged their support, the crowdfunding campaign failed to reach its funding goal. Think of Krainos ReAnimated as a game that pays homage to the 16-bit era, and you’ll get why Kraino Origins is closer to a souped-up 8-bit game from way back in the day.

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You’ll control your character with the left analog stick or the D-pad, jumping with the B button and using your melee attack with the Y button as you swing around your scythe. The A button can be used to unleash a downward slash when jumping. This downward slash will allow you to bounce off enemies as well as from destructible platforms. Pressing the + button will open up your inventory. You can use long-range special attacks with the X button. These will consume some of your mana and must be unlocked with your money.

All of the gold coins and gems that you collect from the enemies you defeat and the large treasure chests that you bust open will be added to your total. By finding the secret hiding spots for the Skeleton Merchant, you’ll be able to spend your hard-earned currency at the Skele-Store to purchase special skills that can greatly help you during your time with Kraino Origins. There’s a magical fireball that will allow you to conjure up a ball of fire. You can also buy a powerful axe that will help you defeat enemies in hard-to-reach spaces. You can switch between special skills by using the L and R buttons.

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Be sure to pay attention to your surroundings at all times. Doing this will allow you to locate the many spots that feature destructible walls that you can get rid of with your mighty scythe. Enter these paths, and you’ll find large treasure chests with more coins and gems, or you might end up finding special soul fragments that you can grab to boost your overall hit points and mana total, which can make a big difference, especially when taking on the extra challenge stages.

Along with the aforementioned eight main stages, you’ll have to complete, Kraino Origins also features some additional challenge stages that will test your skills. You’ll need to complete each in a single go since there are no checkpoints to partially save your progress. As long as you take your time to learn a stage’s overall layout and enemy placement – and learn from your mistakes – you shouldn’t have that much trouble completing them. Sure, you’ll die a lot thanks to the always classic single-hit super sharp spikes that will completely drain your hit points, but that’s just part of the process!

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Kraino Origins manages to hit the spot to give us a retro-styled 2D action platformer that pays homage to the recent now classic 2D action platformer Shovel Knight. It features eight main stages, along with some bonus challenge stages that will test your skills. It’s got easy-to-pick-up gameplay mechanics and an old-school difficulty that makes it a good option for fans of the genre. Kraino Origins is out today on Nintendo Switch at an $11.99 price.

This Kraino Origins review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Elden Pixels.

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