Kaze and the Wild Masks is a 2D platformer described by developers PixelHive as '90s inspired'. This is definitely accurate, as there’s a majorly nostalgic vibe, from the slightly retro feeling artwork and music to the lack of dialogue. It simultaneously feels years old and brand new.
The titular Kaze, an anthropomorphic bunny, has basic controls — the d-pad or analogue stick to move, X to jump, and square to attack giant enemy vegetables. Starting the game, players are given the choice between two difficulties. The difference between the two is minimal in terms of gameplay, but the easier difficulty setting gives way more checkpoints, and the option to skip levels if you die a certain number of times.
Speaking of difficulty, this game is a tough ride. Luckily load times are quick, because the number of deaths would become very monotonous otherwise. This is kind of a double-edged sword; it makes gameplay feel very fast-paced, but there’s a lot of running in headlong, making the same mistakes without learning from them.
Throughout the game, Kaze gets masks, which give her powers. They could be anything from a bird mask allowing her to fly, to a shark mask which allows her to swim — you get the idea. Some of these powers are more intuitive than others; we found flight particularly frustrating, as you have gravity to contend with as well as momentum from flying, which can often propel Kaze into danger. Regardless, the masks add nice variation to the gameplay, and it’s fun to see how they force you to interact with the environments. While the gameplay is largely enjoyable, the game doesn’t offer much in terms of story. There are cutscenes showing what's going on, but it's hard to feel attachment to the characters when they don’t speak, and largely we found ourselves not caring much about the plot.
Overall, this is a fast-paced, colourful, and nostalgic experience. It’s challenging while staying on the right side of frustrating, with a lot of fun to be had. Though you might not get much out of the story, you’ll still have fun clearing levels and beating time trials.