KarmaZoo, Show Your Selfless Side

Karmazoo review-cover

KarmaZoo is a co-operative platformer developed by the independent studio Pastagames and published by Devolver Digital. The title was released on 14 November 2023 on PC (Steam, Microsoft Store, Epic Games Store), Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch. The version we tested is the Steam edition.

KarmaZoo is a game that emphasizes pure cooperation, where the act of helping one another is crucial for success in each game. The game offers two distinct modes: Loop and Totem. Loop is the main mode, which allows for online co-operative gameplay with up to 10 players. It also supports cross-platform functionality, enabling players from different platforms to play together. On the other hand, Totem mode offers competitive local challenges for players to participate in.

Additionally, KarmaZoo provides the option to create a private lobby and share a code with friends. The minimum number of players required is two. However, the game becomes even more enjoyable with a larger group of players. Although the game’s levels adapt to accommodate two players, it can be challenging to complete them within the given time limit.

Karmazoo screenshot 3

In Loop mode, there are four challenges that need to be overcome in order to reach the end of the level and accumulate maximum Karma. Prior to entering the game, players begin at the Sanctuary, which serves as our central hub for operations. It is here that we can unlock new characters and explore the various challenges available for each character to undertake.

There are over 50 characters that can be unlocked, each possessing distinct traits. For instance, certain characters like the bell or the elephant possess the ability to shatter glass walls. The levels we encounter in the loop will vary depending on the characters selected by the players in the lobby. These levels will be specifically generated to enable us to make the most of the unique abilities possessed by each character.

Each loop encountered in this system is unique as it is specifically generated based on various factors:

  • the number of players participating in the game, which can range from a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 10 players;
  • the type of characters selected;
  • the intermediate bonuses chosen.
Karmazoo screenshot 1

Upon completion of each level, players are presented with a selection of five bonus cards, each offering a unique benefit that may even impact the following level. These bonuses range from earning Karma to transforming characters into squirrels or enabling larger jumps. While two bonus cards are always accessible, the remaining three are unlocked based on the amount of fruit collected in the previous level. Collecting all fruit grants access to all bonuses. It’s worth noting that the bonus is not randomly assigned, but rather determined through a voting process.

In KarmaZoo, cooperation is key to success. Each character possesses unique abilities that can be utilized to unlock new areas and create platforms for other players. Whether it’s overcoming challenging platforming sections or solving puzzles, players must work together to progress. For instance, one player may need to sing to make platforms tangible, while another may need to sacrifice themselves to create a platform for others. Every act of cooperation earns Karma, making it essential for players to work together towards a common goal.

KarmaZoo is a game that places utmost emphasis on collaboration. Notably, a key aspect of the game is the requirement for players to remain together. Each player possesses an aura that connects and grows stronger when they are in close proximity. However, if a player strays from the group, their aura weakens and may eventually fade away.

KarmaZoo effectively allows you to truly appreciate the significance of collaboration. There is no space for individual heroes; instead, success is achieved by maintaining unity within the group and working together as a team. What left a lasting impression on us was the complete immersion of the entire remarkable community in the game’s spirit. We spent numerous hours participating in random matches, and the players we came across consistently displayed selflessness and patience.

Karmazoo screenshot 2

Although the levels are always different, the gameplay is very intuitive. Typically, cooperative games require voice chat to exchange information. In KarmaZoo, however, it is enough to stay close to the group and exchange quick information through the in-game emoticon system, such as saying go left, up, or wait. Additionally, besides being able to thank other players with an emoticon, you can express gratitude by sending them KarmaKiss.

The Pastagames team has also brought in the KarmaPass, a system that offers players completely free extra content as they earn Karma. On the website, there is a worldwide Karma counter that keeps track of the Karma earned by all players. Whenever a milestone is achieved, additional content becomes available to everyone. Recently, a new character named Cactus was unlocked, and we are close to reaching the goal of unlocking a new mini-game called Finger Fight in Totem Mode.

Our verdict

KarmaZoo is a game that effectively unites people by encouraging kindness and selflessness. With its dynamic levels and numerous unlockable characters, it guarantees hours of enjoyable entertainment.

  • Polished and unique graphic style
  • Innovative gameplay