Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

The Kore Gang (Wii) Review

Review for The Kore Gang on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Some games, such as The Kore Gang, go through really chaotic development cycles, sometimes lasting several years. Initially set to be released on the first generation Xbox, Zoink Games’ title was cancelled until years later it was picked up again by SnapDragon Games to be brought to completion for Wii instead, with revised gameplay to suit the console's unique control capabilities. It's been available in Germany since August 2010, already translated into most languages of the PAL territory, but was only released in the rest of Europe in late February 2011 and is set to be unleashed in North America later in the year. Was The Kore Gang worth the long wait?

The subtitle Outvasion from Inner Earth reflects the game's basic plot. Pixie, a resident of Manhattan, falls through a manhole into the innards of the Earth and what appears to be an underground laboratory. There she finds the Kore suit, a robot-like device with powerful abilities accessible via upgrades spread across the game world. Dr. Samuelson, the suit’s inventor, has been imprisoned by the evil Krank brothers, inhabitants of the Inner Earth who are obsessed by the idea of reaching the surface and conquering the rest of the planet. Pixie later meets up with Madboy and Rex and the trio, proclaiming themselves ‘The Kore Gang’, set out to rescue the professor and prevent the Krank brothers from taking over the entire world.

It's all very linear. There's no hub world, and every level is played one after the other. Each of the 30 or so stages has the player either going from point A to point B, using the Kore suit’s abilities to solve puzzles along the way, or can be more open to exploration and force the team to carry out fetch quests for NPCs before they can move on to the next level. Using the Wii Remote pointer you can collect every Zeeks in every level, floating creatures much like the lums in Rayman 2: The Great Escape, and in some cases one hidden purple Zeekret. Doing so unlocks artworks from the development process in a gallery.

Screenshot for The Kore Gang on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The game uses a graphic style akin to the original Rayman 3D platformers, the way colours and lights are used reminding of Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, but the most obvious source of inspiration seems to be Psychonauts. The art is awesome and rendered pretty well on the Wii, with nice textures and some great effects being used. However, the character design is a bit bland. The main characters look like generic cartoon characters and don't have any lasting appeal, which is truly disappointing given how charming their personalities are. On the other hand, the bad guys are more original and steal the show.

The Kore Gang puts a lot of emphasis on the dialogue too. It's clear that it got a lot of attention from the development team, with lots of funny moments (though sometimes, it looks like it's not completely intentional). The singing scenes with the bosses are hilarious and give it a musical feeling, on top of the rest of the soundtrack being quite good.

As you explore the different levels, you can switch between characters at any moment by pressing the C button on the Nunchuk. Each character has its own moveset which will prove useful in the right situation. Pixie is more suited to platforming sequences, as she can double jump and use a hookshot, Madboy is the only character who can attack the enemies, and Rex runs the fastest of the trio and comes in handy when solving puzzles that involve following a scent, or can use his sharp ears for safe-cracking. Since the pointer plays a great role in the gameplay, you can only play The Kore Gang using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combination.

Screenshot for The Kore Gang on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The nature of the suit our heroes wear has a drastic influence on how it controls. Being a huge robot it's heavy, and this is felt in how it moves and jumps. Those used to controlling lighter characters such as Mario will likely miss a lot of seemingly easy jumps in very stupid ways at first, but playing through the first couple of levels, and conveniently switching back to Pixie, who can jump higher and double jump when facing platforming sequences, players will get used to it. This is not a fault - it would have been weird for a heavy machine to jump lightly.

Most actions throughout the game can be performed without the slightest problem, but a few context-sensitive actions don't work as they should. Minor problems occur when Madboy must launch some snowballs or other spherical ammunition. This is performed by tilting the Wii Remote on its side while still pointing at the target on screen. This can be tricky and the detection of the tilt is off at times when being able to shoot quickly and precisely is required.

Screenshot for The Kore Gang on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Then there's the ballerina spinning action for Pixie. It requires holding the Wii Remote vertically and spinning it around like a wand to make your character hover over lethal zones. The way the Wii Remote has to be spun isn't explained very well in the on-screen tutorial, and you will get a sore wrist at first from trying so hard to make it work the way it's shown on screen. Once you get it right, it can still be painful, but it at least works, it just takes some blind practice. Thankfully, those actions aren't required in a lot of places, and the rest of the moveset can be used easily.

The Kore Gang is not a very hard game, some of the later stages aside, but it's awfully short, and that's its major problem. Once you have collected every Zeek and Zeekret and unlocked the whole art gallery, there's not much incentive for you to go back and play it again, aside from the appeal of the art style and the dialogue.

Screenshot for The Kore Gang on Wii- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


There are only a couple of gameplay and camera problems in there, limited to some specific moments in the game. They don't break the fun, but can be a source of frustration when they're encountered.


Not the best looking Wii game, but some nice lighting and water effects, plus very good texture work. The art for the environments is the most impressive part of the game, while the character design is rather its weak point. No noticeable slowdowns to report.


The soundtrack is not particularly memorable, but the music suits the action pretty well, and some of the compositions are quite catchy. The musical-like cutscenes are a nice touch too, which help the game building its own style. The voice-acting is OK.


It's a very short game. Eight hours tops to clear everything in the game doesn't make for a wholly valuable package. The core experience, however, is still good enough to warrant that the player won't regret the purchase, provided that it isn’t at full price.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

A thoroughly enjoyable experience on the whole, despite a couple of flaws. The Kore Gang could have used some more polish, more content and more freedom of exploration, given how the game world and its presentation are genuinely engaging, but what we do have here is an enchanting universe with great art for the environments and a good composer, which all makes for a truly amusing game, which for the time it'll last you, will keep you entertained and hooked. A good basis for a vastly improved sequel, maybe...?

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (1 Votes)

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

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Thanks for the review! Since the game is only $19.99 and one person's 7 can be a 6-9 for others I'll be buying it once along with all my other purchases for the year.

sotrab (guest) 24.09.2011 02:40#2

Atari is publishing this game, due out in November 2011

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