KAKU: Ancient Seal – Preview
Follow Genre: Open world action-adventure
Platform: PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: PC

KAKU: Ancient Seal – Preview

Good: Solid open world gameplay foundation
Bad: Difficulty level can be ramped up quite a few notches
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Rating: 8.4/10 (5 votes cast)

With The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom being on top of many a gamer’s mind right now, it’s perhaps easy to overlook smaller titles that try to occupy a similar niche. Indie developer BINGOBELL’s debut title KAKU: Ancient Seal is such a title, offering gameplay that clearly took some inspiration from Breath of the Wild. It’s a bold move from the developer to drop the Early Access version of this caveman-themed open-world adventure game roughly a week before Nintendo unleashed their biggest release of the year. Granted, KAKU and Tears of the Kingdom aren’t even in the same ballpark in terms of scale and scope, so we won’t be outright comparing the two, but there are some similarities here that are difficult to ignore. What does the Early Access version of KAKU bring to the table ahead of its full release? Read on to find out.

In KAKU: Ancient Seal, players take on the role of Kaku, a young caveman who becomes caught up in a mythical adventure when he and his mentor Geiser enter a mysterious portal. The pair find themselves on a floating island, where they are joined by a stone giant and an adorable piglet. Here, Kaku is tasked with fulfilling his destiny and restoring balance to the world. While there is no discernible dialogue in the game, as cave people don’t speak English, subtitles provide players with just about enough information to follow the story. The game’s main storyline involves retracing the steps of the mysterious Saga, dealing with the hostile Ponpon tribe, and freeing the four elemental regions from the curse that has befallen them. Oh, and that piglet we mentioned accidentally becomes infused with Saga’s magic and now has powers of its own. It’s a good thing that Kaku can use his pet’s new-found abilities to his advantage.

This premise forms the basis for a fantastic but by-the-numbers semi-open world action-adventure filled with secrets to discover, side quests to complete and puzzles to solve. While these puzzles aren’t overly elaborate, they are well-designed and clever. One of our favorite early-game examples included a simple but clever tile puzzle where Kaku needed to jump on different tiles in the right order, but there are plenty of others where you’ll even need to rely on your magical pig to overcome obstacles as well.

When it comes to its gameplay, KAKU impresses, even in its current early state. There are a couple of rough edges, and we’ll get to those a bit further, but keeping in mind that this is BINGOBELL’s debut title, KAKU is a fantastic showcase of the developer’s potential. The game won’t be winning any originality prizes, but the semi-open world action adventure that is being offered here is solid and fun. There is a true sense of progress too as Kaku learns new abilities as you progress. The initial tutorial covers the basics, of course, but you have the option to try out every new skill Kaku unlocks through an in-game setting without this affecting your progress in the main game. This means that you can familiarise yourself with some of the trickier abilities until you feel confident enough to use them in the wild.

Combat is interesting in that you can mix and match freely between melee and ranged attacks. There is a wide variety of close combat weapons available, but if you prefer to attack from a distance, Kaku relies on his trusty slingshot, which can be customized with various types of ammo. The catch is that you’ll need to craft your slingshot pellets yourself. This can only be done at specific locations, so you’ll need to be careful and considerate when it comes to using your more powerful pellets, especially since you’ll also need to gather the necessary materials from the wild. Resource management feels important but not unbalanced. This doesn’t just limit itself to pellets either but all sorts of materials that come in handy to upgrade Kaku’s equipment and abilities. Our hero is just as much of a gatherer as he is a hunter.

We did feel like the boss fights could use some rebalancing. KAKU offers three difficulty levels, but even at the hardest one of these, bosses felt a bit too simple and easy to beat. It’s easy enough to recognize boss attack patterns and then simply dodge-roll out of the way. Granted, the game tries to prevent you from simply spamming this ability by limiting Kaku’s amount of stamina, but this simply means you’ll need to pay a bit more attention. The game does rely on save points, but these are plentiful and well-placed. The result is a game where the world feels more like a playground and less like a place where Kaku is risking his life. This does undermine the stakes of the game, removing any true sense of urgency. In fact, the game chugs forward at a leisurely pace, even feeling like it slows down to a halt as you need to grind for materials to craft new gear. While KAKU is built on a solid foundation, perhaps both the overall pacing and the difficulty level could be cranked up somewhat.

Apart from the not-so-challenging boss fights, we ran into some performance issues, including frame drops and the occasional screen freeze. From what we can gather online, the developers are aware of these hiccups and are even providing workarounds to some problems we haven’t encountered ourselves, such as the game not booting properly. Those issues, despite being inconvenient, are unfortunately something that can happen with Early Access releases, and we’re a lot more forgiving than we would have been had this been a full-fledged release. The mentioned issues aren’t the only ones we ran into but they were the most prominent ones. In fact, there are plenty of very minor issues we could list here, including an interface bug where you’re always returned to the start of the menu when you press back, instead of simply going back one stage, but these are both too plentiful and too small to mention all of them. Realistically, these blips will disappear as BINGOBELL continues to improve the game over the coming months as well.


Even in its current, unfinished state, it’s easy to see KAKU’s potential. For BINGOBELL, this is an ambitious undertaking, especially since it’s their first game. KAKU doesn’t bring anything to the table we haven’t seen done elsewhere, and the game still has a handful of minor rough edges, but don’t let that deter you from giving the game a try. We can’t wait to see how KAKU evolves over the coming months. The game is set to arrive on PlayStation and Xbox as well when it fully releases near the end of the year.

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Rating: 8.4/10 (5 votes cast)
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KAKU: Ancient Seal - Preview, 8.4 out of 10 based on 5 ratings

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