Sunday, April 19, 2020

Kuso (PC/Steam 2017)

Minimalist platforming can be fun. How minimalist is too minimalist? Developer Fred Wood aims to find out with Kuso. The big gimmick of Kuso is that the player can, at any time, leave a shadow behind for use as a respawn point upon death. Apart from that, we are treated to a stick figure (named five-eight,) navigating beautifully drawn levels with 100 extra lives. (Or infinite lives, or one life depending on what mode you play).

Story? We don’t need no stinkin’ story. When it comes to words, less is more. In fact, you can’t have a story. The story is hidden. According to the dev there is a tale behind the level design in Kuso and Love, but when asked while live streaming the game, he declined to explain it. None of that matters while playing the game. Just get to the end of the level.

Mechanically, this is platforming at it’s purest and most distilled. You are the little man and you must jump over things and make it to the goal. You have no weapon and you are never given the task of eliminating an enemy. This game, much like it’s predecessor, Love, is all about navigating danger and making jumps. It’s a short game which can be beaten in less than an hour if you play with unlimited lives, but it has kept me interested enough to do that several times. According to Steam, I got 4 hours out of it.

There is a 2-player vs mode which consists of split screen local multiplayer with two people speed running levels to see who gets to the end first. I tried this once with my son. We enjoyed it, but we weren’t interested enough to come back to it after testing to make sure it worked.

During the lifespan of this game, it’s name was changed from “Kuso” to “Love 2 – Kuso”. This seems very strange since graphics between Love and Kuso are identical and it’s therefor super easy to tell the connection between these two games, but whatever. I guess it’s Love 2- Kuso now.

There are lots of easter eggs hidden throughout the game that consist largely of animated GIF files of cats. It’s a simple mechanic but I honestly found it rewarding enough to encourage exploration.

The original level set from the first game is included, but the mechanics have been changed slightly, and extra levels have been added to make it harder.

Kuso is designed to be a short experience. For the money, I think there is enough game here to make it worth it. It’s not perfect, but it’s a journey worth taking.

Just don’t buy the hat DLC. Holy crap it’s 5 bucks for a hat consisting of 14 pixels. No thanks.


Ahh yes. It’s time for the ending where I list all of the games I have reviewed at this point from best to worst and see how this game fits. Kuso is great. It’s a shorter experience than Fatal Labyrinth, but I have come back to it more than Numbatus. It gets the #3 spot.

Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy
Fatal Labyrinth
Nimbatus: The Space Drone Constructor
Treasure Hunter Simulator
Storm of Spears
Echo Royale

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