The First and Last Tale Told: Karmaflow: The Rock-Opera Video Game

by - January 26, 2019

When I first heard of Karmaflow being announced, I did not have high hopes, but kept it in my wishlist anyway, for loyalty to the singers involved in its creation. Granted, I have only now purchased it, after both acts have been released and a multitude of bugs and glitches have been patched. To be fair, for me the soundtrack and graphics do a lot of the heavy lifting in the game (for me), but I was nonetheless pleasantly surprised by its other qualities as well.

Mandatory introduction paragraph: Karmaflow: The Rock Opera is an indie puzzle platformer featuring some of the most prominent voices on the contemporary rock and metal scene. An interactive rock opera, if you will. You play as the Keeper and your task is to restore or tip the balance within various worlds plagued by the so-called Dissonance.

Firstly, the game has spirit. Despite never receiving the full funding they were hoping for, its creators went along and finished it anyway, quite clearly pouring their hearts out into some of the scenes.
The graphics, though not immediately calling heavy metal imagery to mind, are beautiful and each of the four worlds shines in its own way. Plus, I encountered very few glitches at all, and most were not bothersome enough to impede my progress or reduce my overall enjoyment of the game in any way.
To nobody's surprise at all, the soundtrack is stunning and flawlessly executed both in terms of vocals and instrumentals. I would be lying if I said that I did not get goosebumps at one or two points in the game. I also quite liked the pacing of it - calm and relaxing for the most part, lacking any sort of action-packed, violent scenes; but high-paced and powerful during more crucial moments. You may recognise a number of artists who have sung this game into existence, including (but not limited to) Charlotte Wessels of Delain, Simone Simons of Epica, Elize Ryd of Amaranthe, Mark Jansen of Epica, After Forever and MaYaN, Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica and many, many more.
Story-wise, I was also pleasantly surprised. Though the game hardly commands any hard-hitting emotional investment into its characters, it was just enough to make you think twice before you make a final choice at the end of each chapter. I was, at first, displeased with the split between the Consonance and the Dissonance as representing, respectively, the more 'melodic' and more 'heavy' elements of music, with the latter being represented as something bad. But without giving too much of the story away, I changed my mind and understood what the creators were going for there once I got the true ending.

What did bother me in the game were actually some of the puzzles. Though I was not under the illusion that they would somehow be dynamic, they did tend to drag on at times. Often, I'd find myself spending more time running around the map in search of the next step, rather than actually trying to solve the riddles (also, getting around the trees in the swamp was a nightmare ugh).
And I suppose I would count the length of the game as a minus (around 10-ish hours), not because it was not long enough for me but simply because I enjoyed it and would not mind having some more interesting worlds to explore.
Overall, I am very happy and impressed with this game. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in puzzle platformers and non-violent games, as well as anybody who loves music genres like symphonic metal, power metal and the like. I hope you will give it a chance, or at least have a listen through the tracks on YouTube (don't spoil yourself, though!).

In the meantime, if you're interested in more video game reviews, let me know in the comments. Or, if you'd rather watch them than discuss them in writing, stop by one of my spontaneous Twitch streams. Me and my fiance are currently co-oping our way through Dark Souls II and it's always fun in the chat!

I hope you have a great weekend. 'Till we meet again!

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  1. I'm not a gamer [I just watch my boyfriend's playing once in a while ;)], but I love listening to soundtracks. And this one seems to be really great, I'm going to check it out for sure! Thank you for sharing :)

    1. Yay, I'm so happy that you'll give it a chance, despite not having an interest in gaming yourself. Hope it's to your liking!