KARMAFLOW: THE ROCK OPERA VIDEOGAME
By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on February 17, 2015
Say you like symphonic metal music and videogames. Wouldn't it be great if you could have both at the same time? Don't fret my friends, Basecamp Games will make this dream come true! You can now play a beautifully crafted game, accompanied by music and songs played and voiced by musicians and singers from renowned symphonic metal bands. Get ready to go with the flow... with the Karmaflow, that is!
Karmaflow: The Rock Opera Videogame began as a student graduation project in the Netherlands by Ivo van Dijk back in 2013. Now, a mere two years later it’s fully grown and act 1 of this game is available on Steam. Its release has been celebrated with a sold out show, named Karmaflow in Concert: The Rock Opera. The Deluxe Edition of the Karmaflow game will ultimately contain some professionally shot footage of this costumed live performance, taking the music from the game to the stage.
In Karmaflow you control a cute looking, floating creature known as the Karmakeeper. He has to travel through several worlds, solving puzzles as he goes. Your main objective is the redistribution of Karma. If an object has an orange glow, Karma can be taken from it. If however, the object has a purple glow, Karma can be given to it, or as the game calls it: Karma can be infused. This mechanic enables you to solve puzzles and progress through the game. You effectively change the world you're currently in. Each world you travel through is also protected by a specific Guardian. These Guardians all have problems of their own, so you listen to their story and you try to help them in order to restore the peace to the world.
The Karmakeeper not only listens to the stories of the Guardians, but also to the story of their counterparts. It's the well known 'there's no light without darkness' trick, and it's done very, very well! I like the way of storytelling used in Karmaflow, because this is the part where the vocalists can strut their stuff. The soundtrack of Karmaflow features internationally acclaimed singers from bands such as: Dragonforce, Cradle of Filth, Epica, Sonata Arctica, Arch Enemy and more. It perfectly fits the overall look and feel of the game, and makes you that much more involved in the story. The overall symphonic sound of the score is enhanced by none other than the Dutch Metropole Orchestra.
At the end of each chapter, you will have heard both sides of the story at hand, and will have to decide whose side to choose. But make no mistake, this decision is not to be made lighthearted! It will eventually have its influence on the world and its inhabitants. Now, that I like! Your actions actually change the outcome of the game. You're an integral part of the game, and that feels great! I like games where your decisions make a difference. It makes me want to play chapters again just to see what happens if I pick the other side...
The world of Karmaflow is beautifully put together. It’s dark, but is also lit up in all kinds of neon colours. It’s like the world of Zelda: Twilight Princess has met world of American mcGee’s Alice and they both decided that living together would be the best course of action. Apart from just looking pretty, the aforementioned neon colours will also show you whether you can take in or infuse karma. Let's say for example that you might need to raise a certain platform to proceed. You can achieve that by infusing karma into a tree root. It will come alive and raise the platform. Presto! Instant elevator. So by either absorbing or infusing Karma, you steadily make your way through this wondrous and deeply mysterious world.
On your journey through the game, you will encounter a variety of NPC's. In a regular game one might call them enemies, but in Karmaflow, that is not really the case. The characters that cross your path are not violent. In other words: they will not attack you. You can steal their karma, which makes them passive, and that's about it. So you see why I hesitate to call them enemies. Slightly different however, are the bosses you face at the end of each level. They will actually attack you, but it doesn’t really harm you. It only takes you longer to finish them off if you get hit.
If I had to name one thing that is less than perfect in the whole Karmaflow experience, it has to be the little flaw in the controls. Sometimes you'll have to make a very precise jump and it's precisely at those times I feel like the games controls let me down a bit. I cannot tell whether it's a collision-related issue, a dodgy control parameter or just me being all thumbs, but sometimes I just miss the jump to a next platform, because I just kind of slide off it. If I make a double jump, wings appear. This makes the Karmakeeper go a little bit higher than I originally thought he would and I fly over the platform I wanted to land on. Mind you, this is not a game-breaker by any means. It's something you quickly get used to, but it's good to keep this in mind when planning a jump. Apart from this little hiccup in the controls, Karmaflow works absolutely fine and looks and sounds really beautiful. The overall feel is one of desolation and mystery, which, combined with the story and characters in the game, makes for one hell of an adventure! If you’re a fan of this music genre and of a good puzzle videogame, Karmaflow: The Rockopera Videogame will really live up your expectations! So to all you boys and girls out there: Keep on rocking in this weird world!
KARMAFLOW: THE ROCK OPERA VIDEOGAME
January 19, 2014