Captain Kaon is the newest release from Engage Pixel, who are based in the UK. The game set in a future time when the earth is completely overpopulated. Faced with the extinction of the human race, earth sends their finest ships to find a new home beyond the stars in the Regulus sector. Whilst this is happening, an alien armada decides to attack our homeworld. Left with only our oldest ships and a skeleton crew things start to look bleak for earth. And thats where we come in! Whilst the skeleton crew takes on the alien scum, they realise they need a good pilot. Luckily for them, locked up in prison is Captain Talia Kaon. In return for her freedom and to escape a court martial they decide to give her a chance of salvation by defending the earth against the attackers.
Now lets talk about the actual game. ‘Captain Kaon’ uses a twin stick mechanic and is inspired by 80’s classics such as Thrust and Gravitar. Left stick controls the orientation of the ship and the left trigger controls thrust. The right stick is then free to control the angle of the canon and all the other weapons you gain along the way. What set this game apart from other games in the genre is the fun in controlling the ship. I pride myself on being a space nerd, so maneuvering the ship through caves and narrow obstacles wasn’t just about completing the mission, but a matter of pride. As serious as I was, this game was extremely fun. Not only do you have to destroys enemies and shoot targets, but you have the ability to grapple certain objects and drag them through the maps with the purpose of dropping them into different puzzles to unlock gates.
As the game goes on you would imagine this kind of game mechanic would become tedious and boring, but it was quite the opposite. The whole look of the game, soundtrack and controls kept this game as fresh as a daisy, whilst at the same time keeping me challenged and entertained. Seeing this game and playing it are two completely different experiences. To be honest, I am very picky when it comes to retro and vintage looking games, so seeing this game on YouTube and Steam was interesting but didn’t make me rush to the basket page. However playing it was something else all together. Speeding across interstellar looking assault courses and gliding round cavernous areas really did bring out the inner Han Solo in me. Sometimes I actually forgot what the hell I was doing as I was spending the most of my time dominating maneuvers to make it through the maps.
The only negative I would give this game is the damage taken when hitting the walls. Sometimes the amount of damage taken felt inconsistent when hitting walls, but it is difficult to say if this is true for everyone or just my piloting pride overcoming my senses. Regardless of this, the game is still in early access. Looking at the updates on steam it seems that Engage Pixel are constantly updating the game and actually listening to peoples feedback.
Playing this game has opened my eyes to the fun that can be had in retro pixel games, and for that I am thankful. Whilst still in early access, I hope for a sequel of some kind or maybe even a spin off to take this game and advance it even further to another level, it totally deserves it! When it comes to a 5 star rating my gut immediately shouted 3/5, but given the smoothness of the gameplay and the amount of fun I had piloting I am going to give it 4/5.
Kaptain Kaon is currently available on Steam for £4.99 ($6.99) whilst in early access.