Kraino Origins – Review
Follow Genre: Platformer, Adventure
Developer: GameAtomic
Publisher: GameAtomic, Elden Pixels AB
Platform: PC, iOS, Switch
Tested on: Switch

Kraino Origins – Review

Site Score
Good: Does feel like a proper retro-inspired platformer with a lot of different bosses
Bad: Despite the different bosses and new special attacks, the game feels like it's the same through most levels
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Good games inspired by one’s childhood era will always enjoy some sort of success based on no merit other than nostalgia alone. Kraino Origins seems to know this very well, as it emulates platformer games from the early to mid-90s very well, with a focus on the Super Nintendo and the Mega Drive (or Genesis). It’s easy for us to see the appeal of this (positively) ghoulish game.


In Kraino Origins there is a short introduction that shows the birth of the titular Kraino, a ghoulish scythe-wielding skeleton. Evil Dr. Batcula tried to create a new weapon out of Kraino, a fallen warrior. By resurrecting him, the Doctor hoped he would add a new powerful soldier to the already infested lands of evil where he resides. Kraino appears to be just as much a force of good as he was when he was still alive though, which is a huge issue for all parties concerned as he fights his way to thwart the evil doctor. It’s a simple story that barely has any cutscenes apart from the opening which is, like the rest of the game, very much in line with the style of older video games. It’s the journey itself in these games that tells the story, without having to resort to unnecessary text or videos.


Right from the start, the entirety of Kraino feels right just on its looks alone. The game has that “cool classic game” vibe going on when starting. First, the main character’s design with its top hat and scythe is original enough to make it something people can remember. Then there are the effective graphics from the point of spawning (loads of pixel art bats emerge from where you spawn) to the many environments you go through, such as a dark forest or a lava-filled level. These levels have themes you often find in classic games, but Kraino succeeds in still making it something original.


While we did not find the music the best ever, the sound design replicates the old-school era very well. Some music tracks sound a bit repetitive, but at the very least the sound effects have the right “bit” sound. Muffled explosions, fire effects, and tone ladders going up and down are very reminiscent of a whole bunch of games from back in the day. We feel that, while the OST is not ideal, the game has done well with its sound design overall.


The gameplay in Kraino Origins is incredibly straightforward. It is a 2D platformer where you can attack enemies with your scythe and use a single special attack at the cost of mana. These magic attacks can be bought in every level. These attacks can also sometimes be upgraded or switched if you feel another one would suit your current situation better. Enemies and destructible objects can drop money or mana to supply you with enough to actually buy and use those attacks. It’s safe to say the dropping system and the gameplay are a lot like the old Castlevania titles. After each new level, there’s also a challenge level, which is basically a smaller level without checkpoints that gives you a bonus for completing it. You’ll also encounter plenty of bosses, which is a great feeling that not many games still have these days.

After the first two levels or so, you know what to expect from the gameplay and it’s not going to change. Sure, there are fireballs coming from below out of the lava instead of bats flying at you horizontally, but the essentials stay the same. The different environments and slightly different enemies are, however, the biggest change in the game. We’ve been contemplating if we were bored by the lack of real change until we realized it’s actually a pretty perfect fit for what the game tries to achieve: To be a new game with that classic feel.


Kraino OriginsĀ definitely does a great job at providing gamers with a fun retro-inspired experience, albeit as a modern-day release. It’s simply a product of thoroughly analyzed game design where simplicity and visuals merge together in a product that is perfect to play in short bursts. If you’re a fan of retro-inspired titles, we suggest you check this one out.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Kraino Origins - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

I'm a game designer, developer, and reviewer. I've been reviewing for since 2017.

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