Kemono Heroes is a four-player arcade beat’em up full of colour and life

Journey across the land with up to three friends as you quest to put the Moon God back where they belong in Kemono Heroes.

Kemono Heroes, from Mad Gear Games, is a fun, four-player arcade beat’em up filled with beautiful pixel-art. Up to four players must journey through a wide variety of worlds taking on timing and combat based challenges, dealing with each challenge in their own, unique ways.

It used to be incredibly hard to find a good four-player arcade beat’em up. I remember rustling around arcades and it was the same old faces which showed up. Sod’s law, when I did find a different machine — something other than Simpsons Arcade or TMNT — there weren’t enough of us there to play it.

While there are now plenty of games which fit the four-player co-op dream, few of them manage to pin down the feeling that those original arcade titles had. There was something about the characters feeling weighty and overpowered against most enemies, but also that fun feeling as each player rushed toward their favourite characters. Yes, it was the fact that each of the characters had different abilities, moves and strengths. This is why I think so highly of Kemono Heroes, the character abilities are really, really different from one another.

Kemono HeroesIn Kemono Heroes each of the four characters has ranged and melee attacks, but they also have a core ability which affects how they move through levels. The monkey character, for example, can climb on hanging ropes which is very useful in levels with massive, sheer drops. Meanwhile the poster child, the fox character, can transform into most of the enemies in the game which gives them the option to stealth beyond enemies or simply gain cool new skills through taking over the power of the enemy they become.

It’s not just fighting enemies though, one level segment has you running from cover to cover while the background indicates when instant-death attacks are going to blast your way. There’s also fun flying sections where you ride clouds and shoot down approaching enemies. Platforming, however, is the core of it, and you’ll be smashing and bashing your foes all the way to the end.

Both ranged and melee attacks are unlimited in use for each of the players. This is handy as the enemies simply don’t stop coming. If you don’t keep moving forward then you’ll be overwhelmed by enemies approaching from behind as well as in front. As a matter of fact, it’s not even a case of the left or right of the screen, one of the levels which I played while at Pocket Gamer Connects earlier in the year had plant enemies which bred and expanded throughout the level at a rate which couldn’t be held back with two players.

There’s definitely a challenge there, but there’s also a tight, four-player experience which I’ve not seen done so well for many years.

Kemono Heroes doesn’t currently have a release date scheduled, it’s in development for PC, Mac, Linux, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PS4.

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