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31 Jul 2023

REVIEW: Koa and the Five Pirates of Mara on Nintendo Switch

Review by Jon Donnis
Koa and the Five Pirates of Mara is a delightful Nintendo Switch platform game that takes players on an action-packed journey through the vibrant world of Mara. In this loving tribute to classic platforming adventures, you join the series favourite Koa and her trusty friend Napopo as they traverse wild islands, dodge cunning traps, and face off against formidable bosses.

One of the game's standout features is the diversity of the world it offers. With eight distinct worlds to explore, each with its own theme, traps, and bits of story, players will find themselves constantly engaged and eager to discover what lies ahead. From sandy beaches to bubbling volcanoes, the islands are charming and colourful, filled with secrets and collectibles that beckon exploration.

The gameplay is both exciting and accommodating, catering to different playstyles. Players can choose to race against the clock and aim for speed-running medals or take a more leisurely approach to soak in the beauty of each level while collecting shells, the main currency in the game. Collectibles scattered throughout the islands further add to the replay value, as they can be used alongside shells to purchase cosmetic upgrades for your character, boat, and even rebuild the city of Qälis.

Koa and the Five Pirates of Mara boasts a well-designed progression system. Unlocking the archipelago piece by piece keeps players motivated to uncover the mysteries that each island holds. The presence of memorable characters adds a layer of charm to the adventure, and helping them on their respective journeys enhances the sense of fulfilment in the game.

While the game may not bring anything groundbreaking to the genre, it compensates with its well-crafted mechanics, unique island designs, and diverse boss battles. Speaking of bosses, each island's final encounter is distinct, requiring players to adopt different strategies to defeat them. This variety ensures that players are constantly engaged and challenged as they progress through the game.

Whether you're a newcomer looking for a relaxed gaming experience or a seasoned speed runner seeking a challenge, Koa and the Five Pirates of Mara accommodates all players. With approximately six to seven hours needed for a relaxed playthrough or four to five hours for a more rushed approach, completing the main story offers a satisfying gaming experience. However, for completionists aiming for 100% achievement, the game offers plenty of additional content, ensuring hours of captivating gameplay.

The Good
Great graphics, game looks and plays great on the Nintendo Switch Lite. A nice fun little platform game.

The Bad
No double jump! How dare you! The controls can be a bit fiddly at first, and unless you are running, the movement of the character feels very slow. So, you just end up constantly holding down the button to run.

Koa and the Five Pirates of Mara is a well-made and engaging platforming adventure. With its beautiful visuals, diverse gameplay, and memorable characters, it provides a delightful gaming experience for players of all levels. Whether you're exploring the islands leisurely or seeking to conquer time trials and challenges, this buccaneering escapade is a must-play for Nintendo Switch owners.

I score Koa and the Five Pirates of Mara a strong 7.5/10

Out Now on Nintendo Switch

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