Kameo: Elements of Power review

Explore the dazzling world of Xbox 360's elfish heroine

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"We goosed it, we tweaked it, we spun it and we fabricated it." It's almost impossible to play Kameo without hearing J Allard's words from the MTV unveiling of 360 echoing around your head.

This is a game that's been upgraded from GameCube to Xbox, and then from Xbox to 360 and, looking at it, you get the feeling you could peel away layers of detail from the screen like old wallpaper, back to the original flat textures and plain lighting.

The colours are brighter and denser than you're used to, each blade of grass sways in the wind, and the air is thick with dandelion wisps. Even the dust shimmers.

But once you begin to adjust to the grandeur of the setting, you start to take note of the fact that this isn't quite the game you might have expected it to be.

In order to rescue her family and banish the Trolls, Kameo must rescue the spirits of great elemental warriors. She can then absorb these and call on their substantial powers at will.

What you hope is that this complexity will allow the game to put sophisticated and flexible challenges before you - whether traditional puzzles or tricky combat scenarios - and let you find your own solutions to them.

But, despite a few fights with enemies who need to be stunned, or whose shields need to be destroyed, in many situations brute force will see you through.

If Kameo is successful as an inventive brawler, though, other frustrations serve as an early warning for just how high a standard next-generation gaming sets itself.

There are times when you think, 'All this, but they can't fix that?' When the camera glitches, as it does occasionally, or when a boss intro cinematic can't be skipped after you've died and tried again. Or when bad prompting from the narrator sends you on a half-hour wild goose chase.

And that concern rather eclipses the discovery that Rare has made a good adventure game, which was looking like becoming something of a lost art.

It may be a little hollow at heart, and occasionally frustrating, but if this is 360's first adventuring benchmark, the games that follow have their work cut out for them.

More info

DescriptionKameo's a great way to kick the tires on your new system and the best way to show off the 360's visual chops. Plus you get to play as a pile of rocks.
Platform"Xbox 360"
US censor rating"Teen"
UK censor rating"3+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)