Captain Kaon (PC) Review

By Gabriel Jones 10.04.2017

Review for Captain Kaon on PC

In an effort to stem the tide of overpopulation, the people of Earth set out on a mission to find habitable planets. Before long, they discovered the Regulus sector. However, their good fortune didn't last. An alien force has declared war on the colonists, and by extension, Earth. Worse, the miners out in Ceres have decided to rebel. Now the Interstellar Navy can't get their deuterium fuel. Unless the rebellion is quelled, mankind will be wiped out by the aliens. Only Captain Kaon is crazy enough to take on this mission.

Captain Kaon is a twin-stick gravity shooter designed in the spirit of classic titles such as Thrust, Solar Jetman, and Sub-Terrania. As a gunship pilot, the player is expected to undertake a variety of missions throughout Ceres. The mining colony is rife with narrow passageways, active drilling equipment, and a defence system designed to eradicate any and all who get close. Still, all of these threats pale in comparison to gravity. Why is so gravity so dangerous? It's simply because the player is always fighting it. If they let up for even a second, then their demise is guaranteed.

The gunship controls are simple to grasp. Aiming and shooting are handled with the mouse, while thrusting, steering, and other functions are relegated to the keyboard. It's important to spend some time flying around, at least to get a feel for everything. Take into consideration not just the planet's gravitational pull, but also the speed of the gunship. Too much unchecked momentum can send pilots slamming into walls. When entering combat, it's better to focus on strafing effectively. That way it's less likely one will lose their bearings. The last thing the player needs is to get turned around and fly into danger, instead of away from it.

Screenshot for Captain Kaon on PC

Each mission begins at either the flagship Argus, or one of many bases located beneath the surface. When the shields are damaged or if ammo needs refilled, Kaon can always return to these locations to recover. Crates filled with resources can also be uncovered. Taking them back to the base will greatly assist the war effort. While bases are a handy convenience, they tend to be a crutch. It's difficult for the player to make any real progress, when they have to return to base every other minute, just to replenish their easily-depleted shields.

This issue is further compounded by the pods. They constantly spawn from machines, drowning the pilot in cannon fire. The machines themselves can be destroyed, but it takes a lot of firepower or a well-placed missile. All too often, the player will be forced to spend most of the mission on frequent trips between their base and the enemy's machines, until practically everything is eradicated. This probably wouldn't be so bad if the enemy spawn rate was lower. When a pod is destroyed, the replacement arrives almost instantly.

Screenshot for Captain Kaon on PC

Whether the pilot succeeds or fails at a mission, they're taken back to the Argus. Completing missions opens up more of the map, as well as awarding upgrades such as new equipment and gunships. Taking on a mission requires resources, which is all the more reason to collect crates. It's also possible to mount an assault with the assistance of the Argus. This costs a ton of resources, but it instantly completes the mission. The catch is that the player won't receive any rewards. Needless to say, it's not very useful in most situations. It's in the player's best interests to collect the shotgun turret and "mosquito" gunship as soon as possible. They'll make the early missions much more manageable.

After completing a mission, it's possible to return to that location to collect additional resources. However, there is a chance the enemy will launch a surprise attack. The pilot will have to take down laser cannons that are pounding the Argus' hull. It's a neat idea, but it doesn't really work. This is because the mission ends too quickly. By the time the player figures out what to do, too much damage has already been done. Eliminating the laser cannons is a rather convoluted process that includes flipping switches and destroying shield-generating batteries. At least the penalty for failure isn't too bad. The Argus will take some damage, but repairs are relatively inexpensive.

Screenshot for Captain Kaon on PC

The most frustrating tasks generally involve carrying deuterium fuel. Carrying anything in this game can be problematic, due to the extra weight throwing off the gunship's mobility. What makes the fuel canisters especially aggravating is that a few too many scuffs will cause them to explode, instantly failing the mission. Another detail worth mentioning is that the game auto-saves regardless of whether it ends in success or failure. It's cool that there are long-term consequences, but perhaps it would be better if a deuterium explosion only resulted in a lost gunship. The player is only allowed three per mission, so there are still stakes involved. As is, it's just a little too much.

The biggest problems with Captain Kaon are its performance issues and bugs. The frame rate hovers at 30 fps or less throughout, which makes dodging enemy fire or other dangers much harder than it should be. Precise movements are frustrating, since it's overly difficult to gauge exactly how much the player should have to move. There are a few bugs as well. In one mission, the pilot must carry APCs to certain locations. However, if they bring the APC to the Argus, it'll be collected as if it were a resource crate. Without the APCs, the task can't be finished. Enemies will sometimes clip through walls, which is pretty annoying.

Screenshot for Captain Kaon on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Captain Kaon shows a lot of promise, but there are too many aspects that need to be tweaked or fixed. The graphics are passable, but the frame rate borders on horrendous. The difficulty balance is heavily stacked against the player early on, but then jumps between "too easy" and "too infuriating," depending on the objective. The soundtrack is just awful. There's one song that plays during every mission, and it must have been composed with just six or seven notes. It has a better chance of driving someone insane than being trapped miles underground, while surrounded by hostility.

Developer

Engage Pixel

Publisher

Engage Pixel

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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