Kraken Academy!! Review (Switch)

Kraken Academy!! Review: School’s in session!

Kraken Academy!!

Boy, you sure do have it rough. You’re being sent to a new boarding school with your snotty older sister who seems to live only for the finer things in life while making your own miserable. Just great! To make matters worse, she’s in the seriously well-funded Drama Club while you’re stuck in the slums of the Music Club. Actually, strike that — it’s not just the Music Club that’s gross, the rest of the school is just as grimy as your new home away from home with the notable exception of the Drama Club. That’s…weird. You know what else is weird? A Broccoli Girl classmate, disappearing students, a catboy principal, and a kraken in the lake. What kid of school is this??

That’s for the other students to know and you to find out in Kraken Academy!!, a time-looping pixel art adventure game available on PC, XBox, and Switch. Developed by Happy Broccoli Games and published by Fellow Traveller (Paradise Killer, Suzerain), Kraken Academy!! asks players to “Join forces with a magical Kraken to uncover the Traitor, a malevolent mastermind, who could be anyone at the school. With each time loop you’ll get closer to saving Kraken Academy.” And for a launch price of $14.39 (regularly $17.99), Kraken Academy!! is a delightfully unhinged romp through mysterious schoolgrounds with a more hands on History class than initially anticipated!

Kraken Academy!!

As previously mentioned, Kraken Academy!! opens up on a new student who, upon choosing “the best name I can think of” (i.e., Deathblade), is immediately thrust into an end-of-times scenario where he alone must save the school from certain destruction. Okay, maybe he’s not totally alone — the Kraken in the lake is there to help, providing him with a magical amulet that will allow him to manipulate time at will. By freeing the school’s four animal guardian spirits held captive within the bodies of several students within 3 days, Deathblade can avert total destruction of the school and restore it to its natural state.

First off, I love a good time loop game. We don’t have enough of them! And the way it was utilized in Kraken Academy!! was really well done. Again, players only have 3 days to save the school, but you’ll need to go through all three days multiple times before heading back to the beginning of the week. This is because you might get an item on Wednesday that you needed on Monday, or you’ll free a spirit animal on the last day, only to be forced to go back in time and start over from the beginning of the week to save the next animal. It’s player directed pacing, so to be able to explore at will before turning back the clock makes for an exciting experience without feeling overwhelmingly urgent.

Kraken Academy!!

Kraken Academy!!’s storyline is pretty straightforward, but the school itself is anything but. Although a lot of this absolutely wild charm lies within the design of the school, it’s predominately conveyed through its wacky writing. Every little bit of text is absolutely worth the read, from hearing Konstantin’s conspiracy theories (which end up being less conspiracy and more fact) to listening to Wendy gush about her drooling horse companion. Everyone on campus is worth stopping and chatting with, so if you love a good universe full of fun flavor, Kraken Academy!! definitely does not disappoint.

I truly don’t have many issues with Kraken Academy!! — text size is adequate, gameplay is great, pacing is player-directed and the puzzles are fun and challenging enough without feeling too grindy. But I will say that there are moments of combat that felt a bit neglected. It’s not that it was poorly designed (I enjoyed the boss fights that existed), it’s more that they felt pretty easy. I personally don’t mind (I wasn’t here for combat, I was here to discover a literally insane school), but I know it’s a sticking point for some so I mention it. But seriously, don’t let something like that stop you from enrolling in this school — you won’t regret taking a few classes here!

Kraken Academy!! surprised me with its zany humor and delightful time-looping mechanics. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment I spent on campus, making friends with classmates by bringing a goat to a horse race, going on QTE dates, and summoning poop demons (don’t ask). If you enjoy seriously creative — and seriously crazy — games that take outlandish writing to the next level, Kraken Academy!! is now accepting students.

Final Verdict: 4/5

Available on: XBox Series X|S, XBox One, PC, Switch (reviewed); Publisher: Fellow Traveller; Developer: Happy Broccoli Games; Players: 1; Released: March 22, 2022; MSRP: $17.99

Editor’s note: This review is based on a digital copy of Kraken Academy!! provided by the publisher.

Heather Johnson Yu
Born at a very young age; self-made thousandaire. Recommended by 4 out of 5 people that recommend things. Covered in cat hair. Probably the best sleeper in the world. Still haven't completed the civil war quest in Skyrim but I'm kind of okay with that. Too rad to be sad.

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