Thanks to Wolfman_J and Cart Boy for edits!
Kamiko (literally maiden of the gods) is a brand new eShop title by FLYHIGH WORKS. Kamiko is an action arcade game that is short but packs a punch. The game is currently only available on the Japanese eShop, but it’s fully translated in English, Japanese, and Chinese. The language can be changed in-game from the Options Menu, but it defaults to your system language. The game costs 500 YEN, about 4.60 USD. If you are unsure how to set up your Switch to be region free, here’s a handy guide by Chris Scullion.
The game features three characters: Yamato, Uzume, and Hinome. Yamato is the water maiden who possesses the Blade of Kusanagi. Then there is Uzume (who lives in the forest), who wields the Magatama of Yasakani, and finally Hinome (from a fire shrine family), who possesses the Mirror of Yata. The game takes quite a bit of inspiration from Shintoism, one of the major religions of Japan. In fact, the items that the three maidens use are the three sacred treasures.
Yamato is the pure-melee type, Uzume is the pure-ranged type and Hinome plays as a mixture of the two styles. The story is pretty basic with demons taking over the heavens. The Kamiko are then tasked of purifying the realm of the dead and restoring good. There is no outright story progression or character development in the story, really. It’s not really needed, as this is an arcade game, first and foremost.
The game features four levels: The Forest of Awakening, The Sunken Relics, The Scorching Labyrinth and The Ruins of Yamataikoku. Each level contains four shrine quests and a boss battle. The shrine quests are the same for each level — collect and carry two orbs, collect and carry the key, push two buttons, and pay SP at the door. There’s also a flick a switch and run fast challenge, which is sometimes tied to level progression or collecting the optional power-ups for health or SP.
SP is used to purify the shrines, as well as to unlock chests and doors. SP is easily gained by destroying enemies, and players will never be in a pinch. Enemies regenerate pretty quickly which is a blessing and a curse. It’s great for SP, but I found it annoying when I had to carry an orb or a key, and enemies would suddenly spawn literally right in front of me, causing me to drop the item I was carrying.
The game is extremely fast paced and does reward players who can speedrun it. The first time I played the game, it took me 57:50 minutes to complete it. My latest time is 27:02. Since the map doesn’t change, it becomes a game of memorization and route optimization.
The levels aren’t altered for each character, but I found some bosses or levels easier with using certain characters. I had a difficult time with Uzume in some sections as later levels will have loads of enemies bum-rush into players. So it’s kind of difficult to say one character is “easier” than the others.
Kamiko looks beautiful both in handheld and on the screen. The game is a throwback to classic arcade games, but the animations are modern. I’ve ran into a couple framerate issues (Especially on The Scorching Labyrinth as Uzume) but nothing too major. The game doesn’t have a lot to offer outside its’ main campaign — just basic, barebone options. The game has quite a bit of variety with its’ music, which is pretty surprising considering its price.
For 500 YEN, this is an absolute steal. The game doesn’t offer that much, but its low entry point makes it a great in-between title. It’s fun and has quite a bit of charm. The game has its issues, but nothing that makes 500 YEN less of a bargain. I would strongly encourage players to pick this up if they have the extra cash laying around.
|+ Variety of songs||-Minor framerate issues
|+ Fast paced action||-Limited number of characters and options|
|+ Extremely cheap||-Not a lot of content overall|
|+ Solid graphics|
Mains: Yoshi (64), Game and Watch (Melee), Wario (Brawl), Wario/Pac-Man (Smash for 3DS/Wii U)