It’s been a long time since I’ve binged on Cartoon Network shows, back when Cow & Chicken and Dexter’s Lab were at their peak. Nowadays the channel is dominated by fresh ideas like Steven Universe and Adventure, but there’s a new kid on the block in OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes. Despite it being relatively new to the scene, Cartoon Network have already given the green light for Super Time Force developers Capybara Games to deliver a brawler type game based on it. Is OK K.O.! Let’s Play Heroes an enjoyable experience for the adoring fans, or just merely a quick cash-in on the hype?
OK K.O.! Let’s Play Heroes takes players to a world where people have collectible POW cards of themselves, which level up and give stats to said hero. At the Lakewood Plaza strip mall everyone is a hero, saving the day and keeping the villains at bay on a daily occurrence, but the story focuses on a young chap named K.O. who has the biggest desire of all to put an end to the devious Lord Boxman’s schemes. Lord Boxman has somehow reset all the POW card levels to 0 and it’s down to K.O., with a little help from his friends, to right this wrong and earn himself a card in the process.
One of the first things I noticed is how faithful to the TV show it is, with the zany humour shining through and wacky characters such as Rad, Enid, Dendy, Crinkly Wrinkly and K.O.’s mommy, Carol. Amongst the cutscenes and interactions, the visuals are to a high enough standard that you feel as if you are in the show, which is a huge positive for the younger audience. It even has the same voice cast to really keep the authenticity of OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes intact; all of whom do a cracking job.
Anyway, each day in the life of K.O. follows a routine of punching in at his place of work – Gar’s Bodega – and eventually clocking off, with quests and battles in between. The job doesn’t pay very well, but the Techno’s earned can be used to buy packs of POW cards, stat boosts or items of interest to fulfil quests. Roaming around the Plaza talking to NPCs is how you acquire quests and completion of these helps towards building up your own hero rank and re-building that of the quest giver. Eventually, you’ll provide enough assistance to unlock the Powie Zowie of their POW card, which is a special support attack for battles.
Battling happens frequently, either by way of the main story or random boxes of evil robots lurking around the Plaza. The amount of enemies to defeat varies, with any concoction of Shannon, Darrell, Raymond and Ernesto models showing up, amongst others. The different enemy types are decent and all have different moves you need to telegraph to avoid being defeating. Dodging is just as important as attacking; an all out assault will just leave you open to being on the receiving end of a special move.
K.O. is the only character you’ll get to use in the 2D battle arenas and he possesses a decent range of easy to perform attacks, with punches, kicks and uppercuts at the ready. The more you level him up, the more manoeuvres you’ll unlock. For example, after reaching a certain level of coolness – yes, that’s one of his three stats – he can launch a giant fist that can be guided around the fighting arena to hit anyone in its way. Add to that some of the Powie Zowie attacks like Gar smashing down on top of the enemies or Carol pulling off a melee combo, which come courtesy of the POW cards you own, and it can be rather fun to fend off these robots. Only for a short while though, simply because the fighting grows monotonous given how many battles you’re thrown into day after day.
Sure, the sporadic boss battles change it up, but these are few and far between. I don’t think it helps that most of the action and questing happens within the Plaza, with it becoming repetitive seeing the same old areas, going back and forth to complete quests or find something useful. By the time you’ve done a few shifts at the Bodega, it gets to the point where you’re wondering the point of seeing the other heroes levelling up and why the XP earned for yourself is so stingy.
OK K.O. Let’s Play Heroes does a terrific job of adapting the heart and soul of Let’s Be Heroes into game form, with the silly humour and weird, yet wonderful, characters coming across really well. The interactions between the characters are great and some of the quest ideas are neat, however, taking on numerous quests will see you going back and forth all the time, passing the same people and the same places, making it a bit of a chore. The enjoyment of the actual gameplay is short lived though, for as fun as it may be, trying out the new Powie Zowie attacks and avoiding the cool moves of the robots, the battles become predictable and a tad boring.
It starts off great, but really fizzles out despite adding new features early on to try and move things along. Still, OK K.O. Let’s Play Heroes will do a decent enough job at keeping the kids entertained for a few hours.