Kula World (PlayStation) Review

By Ofisil 09.07.2018

Review for Kula World  on PlayStation

Kula World, or Kula Quest in Japan, or Roll Away in the US, because... marketing, is a pretty interesting, 3D platform-puzzler that, despite its relative simplicity, managed to become somewhat of a fan favourite, cult hit, which, unfortunately, kind of faded away into oblivion... #NotThatBethesdaGame. Cubed3 remembers this little 1998 indie title, and is here to tell you all about it, and its colourful and bouncy, PVC protagonist.

The hero (or is it heroine?) of this enjoyable adventure is nothing more than a beach ball; a beach ball that rolls around the lanes of a 3D maze with alternative physics; a beach ball that collects keys for the exit of the stage, which is also capable of eating fruit to gather points. Yes, the concept is rather far-out, but that's part of the videogame charm, correct? Anyways, that sums up what Kula World. Is it fun? The short answer is a big, glowing, 'yes.' The long answer is as follows…

Screenshot for Kula World  on PlayStation

For starters it's a very… zen kind of game that just feels good to play. It's bright, it's colorful, the music is soothing, and the way the level floats in the stratosphere enhances the "dreamy" vibe of it all. The real reason, of course, is that this isn't just fun to look and listen at, but mainly fun to play, although it's somewhat hard to pinpoint exactly why, as the idea behind it is far from groundbreaking - just a matter of collecting keys and reaching the exit.

Of course, it's not really just that. For starters, the action takes place with alternative gravity, which is dependent on which side of a platform the ball is - oh, yeah, this spherical hero can actually move around like Spider-Man. As expected, the levels are filled with all sorts of hazards, so it's all a matter of finding the correct route, and doing some carefully calculated platforming. Thankfully, the controls are simple and responsive through all this, thus players can simply focus on the fun of it all.

Screenshot for Kula World  on PlayStation

Along with the very good level design, Kula World's biggest strength is probably how balanced everything is. The difficulty curve, especially, is perfect, as the challenge rises in the most comfortable pace, by slowly throwing more traps at you, and making the levels more complex - and, thankfully, there is an abundance of obstacles at hand, like spikes, icy surfaces, lava blocks, and many more, so it never feels as if the game has run out of ideas.

While it's possible to raise the score by collecting coins and gems, eating (complete with munching sound) fruits, or playing a bonus level, these points aren't there just for show. Instead, these play the role of the health bar, thus, the higher the score, the higher your chances at survival. This manages to keep things a little more interesting, but it's a shame that collecting points is tied to relatively simplistic mechanics, instead of awarding the player for being more effective at clearing a stage.

Screenshot for Kula World  on PlayStation

Wrapping up, Kula World is an enjoyable title. Sadly, there's not much point in replaying the levels. This is definitely one of those games that sort of lose their spark after completion, as there are no extra objectives to complete, or time trial modes... sort of. Well, there is a Time Trial mode on offer, but it can only be enjoyed when playing along with a friend, and it's not really something to write home about - which can safely be said about the 2-player modes as a whole, too.

In this Time Trial two people attempt to complete a stage as fast as possible, but instead of splitting the screen in two, players have to take turns in trying their luck. As for the second mode on offer, it's a pretty boring memory test, with players having to copy the moves of each other, again, by taking turns. Having said that, though, in the end, Kula World might not be perfect, but it remains a pretty entertaining puzzle-platformer, even after all these years.

Screenshot for Kula World  on PlayStation

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

While Kula World looks unique, it really isn't. It's a simple 3D puzzle-platformer, with simple mechanics, simple rules, and simple controls - but it's a fun simple 3D puzzle-platformer. As its only real issues are the relatively low replay value, and the subpar 2-player mode, this is a title that's highly recommended for genre fans, and PS-era retro-lovers.

Developer

Game Design Sweden AB

Publisher

SCEE

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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