Cartoon Network has been my go-to animated block for years. I remember when it first debuted (complete with plenty of teaser commercials) and hosted master-crafted shows like Dexter’s Lab and Powerpuff Girls (which is coming back by the way!) and smiling throughout. Over time Adult Swim ushered me into my teens. In recent years it gave birth to Adventure Time and my personal favorite, Regular Show, while publishing games on the side.
It’s also moved over to the development side with OK K.O.! Lakewood Plaza Turbo (Free), which is a noble first effort albeit with some flaws.
Your job is to defeat the Evil Lord Boxman from destroying Lakewood, and you’ll have plenty of friendly goofy characters to help you do it. Maybe you’ve seen the pilot before online — it’ll give you a good idea of what to expect from this highly videogamey universe. It has clear 90’s vibes while managing to feel updated and inline with their usually programming. Personally, I can see the potential in a show based on the world even if it didn’t immediately grab me. The characters are sufficiently vibrant and full of life, but I’d need to see a bit more character development before I really buy in.
As a beat ’em up though, don’t expect a whole lot out of K.O. outside of a clean control scheme and a few simplistic moves. The left side allows for movement and the ride governs attacks. It’s straight-forward and easy to use, so even genre newcomers should be able to pick it up in seconds. What’s really crazy is how good the game looks. Enemies pop out of the screen with some of the brightest colors I’ve seen on a mobile device to date, most of which have tons of personality — albeit with a limited model count overall (the robot conceit is overused to the point where you’re often fighting droves of them). This is backed up by a great soundtrack and appropriate effects, both on a visual and auditory level.
Once the honeymoon is over though it starts to grate a little. For the most part you’re going to be mashing waves of enemies. Alternate attacks like slide moves (literally enacted with a sliding gesture) are cool at first, but the novelty wears off. Quests are even more repetitive in nature, mostly tasking you with fetch or kill-based objectives. It’s nice that you can pick up objectives and move about the world completing them for that something extra, but since said objectives aren’t actually all that inventive, the concept falls flat.
OK K.O. is a free game that’s supported by ads. You can watch videos to earn currency, which is mostly an optional affair outside of an initial questline introducing you to the concept. Like Pocket Mortys it’s an okay strategy in theory, but I’d really love the option to buy out the game or purchase a coin doubler of sorts to up my earn rate. As it stands, trying it out for free and judging for yourself if the pacing and repetition is enough for you to stomach would be a great idea. In the meantime, I see lots of potential for Lakewood Plaza somewhere down the line.