Review: KAMIKO for Nintendo Switch

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Review: KAMIKO for Nintendo Switch

KAMIKO for Nintendo Switch is the first time we review an imported game and, thanks to the Nintendo Switch being region free, it was not only easy but totally worth it. It’s a little gem everyone should play.

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When we first read about KAMIKO, we were immediately delighted by its art-style; then, Deian played a trailer and the music gave us goosebumps. We knew at that time that we had to have this game. The only problem was: KAMIKO for Nintendo Switch was only available on the Japanese eShop.

Thankfully, Nintendo decided to make the Switch region free. Getting a Japanese eShop card is not that hard if you know your way around Amazon or buy them from some online shop.

KAMIKO world 1–4

If you read this article now, you don’t have to jump through any hoops to get KAMIKO on your Nintendo Switch. The game has been announced meanwhile for a release in Europe and North America and is even listed on the official website of Nintendo of America.

Story & Characters – a mystical setting

One thing is clear: This is not a story-driven game. You are given the choice to select one of three Divine Maidens to go on an adventure and take on the supreme boss.

Choose one of the three characters:

  1. Yamato: The water maiden uses a sword which has a long reach.
  2. Uzume: The earth maiden has a bow that strikes from a distance.
  3. Hinome: The fire maiden throws a shield like a boomerang.
KAMIKO characters

It is crucial to play the game three times because every character has advantages and disadvantages. Luckily, the levels never change. If you memorise them, you know where to go and what to do.

The Music — the beautiful music

The music was one of the reasons we couldn’t wait for KAMIKO to be released in Europe. If you’ve played games on systems like the NES and SNES, you pretty much know what to expect from KAMIKO for Nintendo Switch. The genius behind the twelve tracks is Misoka from PANSOUND who also created the Witch & Hero II soundtrack.

Every soundtrack seems to perfectly underline the levels, of which there are four. Misoka really nailed the atmosphere. Every level has two tracks: A catchy song for the entire level and a dramatic track for the boss fight. Between the level and the boss fight, there is a part with no background music at all; your character gets some upgrades and it really is a scenario that is best described as the calm before the storm.

If you, like me, adore the soundtrack, I have some good news: You can purchase the soundtrack with all twelve tracks for ¥2,160 here (website is in Japanese).

Visual presentation: Pixel art never gets old

Deian didn’t exactly grow up with 8 and 16-bit style games because he started gaming with the Nintendo 64. Yes, he played the NES and SNES at his friends’ houses but never really experienced those games like other people.

KAMIKO World 1 exploring

Still, to this day, he has always likeed pixel art and really appreciates it today when games with nearly photo-realistic graphics are available. KAMIKO for Nintendo Switch really shows that you can still create beautiful games in pixel art that do not look dated at all.

While the game is true to the 8-bit style, it obviously uses techniques that the developers 20 years ago didn’t even dream of. The most apparent one are the God rays often present at the corner of the screen.

KAMIKO World 2 shooting enemies bow

Even though the graphics seem old-school, the animations are very modern — an interesting mix that seems to fit this game very well.

Gameplay — gotta go fast

Deian doesn’t think that he has ever played a game that assigns five buttons to the same action: sprinting. By now, you should know that KAMIKO for Nintendo Switch is a game made for speed-running. Deian is honestly not a fan of speed-running but nevertheless tried it with the third character. It is fun although the carrying of artefacts and keys can get annoying when one enemy makes you drop the item.

KAMIKO World 1 speedrun Hinome


KAMIKO World 1 speedrun Uzume


Still, speed-runners will learn to appreciate this game and try to get the best time possible.

Besides the speed-running, KAMIKO for Nintendo Switch has a basic, yet satisfying gameplay. You attack enemies with the (A) button; holding it down you unleash a special attack that can kill multiple enemies.

KAMIKO World 2 archer skills

Killing enemies, you will notice in the top left corner that you gain combos. They don’t appear to be useful in any way as there is no score in this game. Still, getting combos fills your SP metre faster, it appears.

You need SP to unleash the described attack while holding the A button.

KAMIKO unlocking chest

You also need SP to unlock shrines, chests and some doors to ultimately get to the Torii (gate) to reach the boss. So don’t get ahead of yourself draining your SP with special attacks.

Final words about KAMIKO for Nintendo Switch

KAMIKO for Nintendo Switch is one of those titles that seem like a no-brainer because of the incredibly low entry price. Don’t be fooled by the short length because, on the first try, you will finish KAMIKO in an hour. But the point is to play through it at least three times; after that, a few times more to beat your score; and then again and again until you are satisfied with your time.

PublisherFlyhigh Works
ReleaseApril 13th (JP)/27th (PAL, NA), 2017
Price€4.99, ¥500, $4.99