After releasing their exploration/farming game Summer in Mara, developer Chibig decided to make another game set in that world together with Talpa Games and Undercoders. Koa and the Five Pirates of Mara is the name and after a successful Kickstarter campaign it is now available on all the major platforms. Here is my review of the PlayStation 5 version.
Koa and the Five Pirates of Mara is a bright and colorful 3D platformer that is accessible to players of all ages. The story picks up after Summer of Mara but you don’t need to have played that game to enjoy this. While this game takes place in the same area and features a lot of the same characters, the story here has about the depth of a Mario game. The gist of it is that some pirates have invaded the island and are causing mischief by stealing things and our main playable character Koa has to stop them. You’ll have some text conversations along the way with the other characters but for the most part this is a game focused on platforming.
As a platformer this game reminded me of the simpler ones you would find back on the early PlayStation consoles. The gameplay isn’t very deep and doesn’t do anything to stand out but it provided me with some solid fun regardless. The world is broken up into 8 different themed islands with each island having a few levels to complete. These levels are very short usually taking me no more than a few minutes each to finish with the whole game taking me around 4 hours to complete. Koa’s moveset consists of a jump, roll, long jump, run, and bomb jump which essentially is a ground pound. She can also pick objects up and throw them. The moveset is simple but the important factor is that all of them felt responsive which is key in any platformer.
While the levels are only a few minutes long you can choose to either finish them quickly or take a bit more time to search for all the collectibles that each one has. Finishing faster rewards you with gold medals but going back to get all the collectibles can get you a bit more playtime out of this and gives you some cool unlockables. As I was playing, I was looking for everything I could but when I finished the level I would then jump back in to finish it as quickly as I could. Getting the gold medal usually wasn’t too difficult but some of the later levels are a bit more challenging and you’ll have to have a good grasp of that moveset in order to get gold. Outside of the basic platforming levels you’ll also have boss battles which are really just races where you have to beat the opponent to the goal. Shout out to the call back to Crash Bandicoot where I had to race towards the camera during one of these.
Visually the game is a bit basic too with a lot of simple geometry in the levels. Sure, you have variety in lava, ice, beaches, etc but all of it looks like something out of the PlayStation 2 era. The music is OK but also not varied enough so I ended up hearing a lot of the same tunes over and over. Trophy hunters will find 39 trophies to collect here including a Platinum. So long as you find everything in the game and can earn all gold medals you should have no issue adding all of them to your collection.
Koa and the Five Pirates of Mara is a platformer straight out of the PlayStation 2 era and whether that is a good or bad thing is up to you to decide. While the gameplay and visuals are pretty basic, I enjoyed running and jumping through these levels for the few hours that they lasted. If you enjoyed Summer in Mara and wanted more of that world and characters or just want an accessible 3D platformer perfect for the summer time then this isn’t a bad choice.
*Koa and the Five Pirates of Mara is available now on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. PlayStation 5 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.