Some games are highly revered, their creators lauded for their successes. Others are woefully panned and hated by the general audience. Others still exist merely to fade into the annals of time. Legend of Kay – Anniversary is the latter: an absolutely average and mostly forgettable action-platformer that fails to leave a lasting impression on players. It’s not a bad game, though. In fact, the combat system is respectable, and the adventure aspect is well fleshed out. However, there is nothing memorable about it. Anniversary is a remastered version of the 2005 PlayStation 2 title about a young cat named Kay and his adventure to save the island from evil rats and the gorillas. The premise is not very appealing, and the character interactions do very little to improve it. Was this title worthy of being remastered?

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Here’s what I liked:

Fairly lengthy — I’m underwhelmed by the short duration of most ID@Xbox games, but Legend of Kay is a nod to an era where ever short games were still rather lengthy. It took roughly 10-15 hours to complete my first playthrough on the hardest difficulty. Pacing became a worry around the halfway point of the game, as I began to wonder if Kay would ever end. Luckily, the pacing never became a full-blown problem: Legend of Kay wouldn’t lose anything if it cut one or two segments, but it doesn’t overstay its welcome as is. Fans of extended play content will be pleased.

Great soundtrack — The instrumental accompaniment does not miss the mark. For as long as the game length is, the music is always appropriate to the presented segment. If the music ever looped, I never caught on. Its beautiful orchestrated pieces are glorious, and it may be the best reason to undertake this adventure.

Scoring system and unlockables — There’s an extensive scoring system here that offers a more meaningful experience for those who aren’t content with playing through at a leisurely pace. Higher difficulties offer more scoring potential, and players can pick up collectibles for a limited time score multiplier. Unlockable pictures, music, weapon skins and more are waiting for anyone with the patience to go for high scores. Some of the unlock requirements are quite high, and simply playing through the game on Nightmare difficulty will not unlock most rewards. I didn’t have the patience to go for all of them, but those who do can expect a lot of extra play time.

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Here’s what I didn’t like:

Voice acting — The artists who lend their voices to a game’s characters can make or break the experience. Often times, quality talent can entice viewers to feel a range of motions that a game would otherwise not elicit. At the very least, voice acting is supposed to bring a character to life to help expand upon a game’s atmosphere. Sometimes, though, acting can be so bad and rigid that it kills the whole entertainment experience. And then there are games like Legend of Kay – Anniversary , in which the vocal work is so bad that it’s beyond redemption. Kay‘s dialogue comes across forced and unnatural. Despite being a game about many animal types both friendly and hostile, the voices are suspiciously limited to stereotypes of different ethnicities. For every quality line of dialogue, there are many more that come across as uninspired thanks to an unenthusiastic tone. The game would have ultimately have been better suited with subtitled text dialogue and no voice acting.

The camera — A player should never have to fight the camera for control in a free-roaming action game, but The Legend of Kay features the worst kind of camera control: close up, slow to turn and with a tendency to snag on solid objects. Common exploration becomes a chore as any location can be a blind spot with a camera so clunky. Platforming segments become an absolute nightmare at times, as the camera will try very hard to block off the line of sight to where the player needs to go. Even Super Mario 64 had passable camera options back in 1996, so why is a game from 2005 that has been remastered for 2015 struggling in that department?

B button does too much — On a more minor note, the B button tries to do too much. B is used to crouch. When the player holds B before walking forward, Kay can crouch walk. Kay can also do an uppercut attack when in the crouch position before attacking. When the player moves forward before pressing B, the character does a forward roll. When the player holds the B button and jumps, the character can do a somersault jump for extra height. If this was difficult to follow along at any point, imagine how much more difficult it is to keep track of in the midst of battle. Despite having so many available B button functions, I opted to use them all as little as possible to keep it simple. It’s a shame, too, as the crouch uppercut attack had benefits at times. But there is no real reason to roll or crouch walk and the somersault jump could usually be replaced by a double jump. Sometimes less is more.

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Legacy of Kay – Anniversary is nothing special, but it’s OK. I don’t hate or regret playing it, but I wouldn’t recommend it either. This isn’t the worst thing to get stuck playing, but your time is better spent elsewhere.

Score: Skip It

Achievement notes: Enemies take a significant amount of punishment on Nightmare difficulty. Boss fights are typically easier than normal combat due to the amount of damage that can be inflicted by enemies. I recommend having a guide open when attempting to find all the demon portals. There is no chapter select, the portals are not accessible and are invisible unless a demon potion is used. Even then, the potion only makes the portals visible and accessible for about 10 seconds. It’s a pain to find them blindly.

Legend of Kay – Anniversary was developed by KAIKO and published by Nordic Games on Xbox 360. It was released on July 28, 2015 for $29.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.