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Cozy Retro Games: Kula World Review

For this week’s cozy retro games, I reviewed Kula World. A game that was popular in the 90’s for its weird concept, trippy soundtrack and being the poster child for PS1 Demo Discs, but does the game live up to its popular hype and cult following? Read on to find out more!

cozy retro games

For those born in the 90’s, do you remember when demo discs were a thing? Without sounding like your Grandma, back in the ‘good ol’ days’ many popular PS1 Magazines would have demo discs which would typically be loaded with plenty of enticing game trailers and playable demos.

As a golden oldie, I remember demo discs clearly. One of my favourite demo discs included playable levels of Tekken 3 (where Eddy Gordo and Ling Xiayou were the playable characters), the first level of Medieval and of course- Kula World.

cozy retro games?

As the PS1 transitioned into the PS2, and those games started to become childhood classics, it seemed Kula World slid under the radar and was (seemingly) almost forgotten about, that was until the age of the internet brought this game back from the dead and it instantly became a cult classic amongst many retro gamers.

Kula World (also known as Roll Away in North America!), is a 3D platformer- puzzle game, where the player takes control of a beach ball. The main object of this game is to collect keys to unlock the exits of each level, as well as collecting coins, jewels and fruits along the way.

There’s no driven story line. No antagonist. Nothing. You’re simply a beach ball with no personality just navigating through the levels, overcoming various puzzles. The levels start off easy at first however as you progress they get insanely difficult and complicated, with many pick ups and traps that are set to confuse you and pop your beach ball.

older cozy games

And you will pop your beach ball, many times! However, Kula World is one of those games where you simply dust yourself off and try again, and again, and again- until you finally succeed. The gameplay itself is repetitive in nature, however the levels are so varied and become extremely interesting that you don’t really notice that you’re doing the same thing over and over again.

Not only must the player collect keys and make it to the exit safely but must accumulate points along the way to build up a good score. Obviously points can be worked out by the amount of time it takes to reach exit and how many collectables you find along the way, with deductions occurring when the player ‘dies’ or when the time runs out. Ultimately the game is over when the player runs out of points.

old school cozy games

One thing I love about Kula World is the sounds, they’re really impactful. From hearing those juicy mouth slapping noises as you collect fruits to even the loud POP your ball makes when you get spiked, really does sound realistic. However, I'm not really keen on the music itself. A product of it's time, it goes for this really alien-esque, trippy club music which I don't really care for!

kula world review

So what makes this retro game cozy?

Considering how puzzle games are a common genre in cozy gaming, I would go on to say that Kula World is a perfect example of a retro cozy game. Yes, the graphics might be outdated and the chill, trippy music might not necessarily fit into the calming aesthetics, however the gameplay itself is something that just screams cozy vibes.

Just playing Kula World again just took me back to my childhood, where I would be cooped up in my small, box bedroom, playing this game on a demo disc constantly. I remember feeling cozy and safe, surrounded by my plushie toys, my CRT TV, radio CD player- just revelling in my 90’s childhood.

If you’re looking for a simple retro cozy game that you can easily pick up and play, then I would highly suggest getting Kula World (if you can find it). I know that the sheer cost of a physical version of this game was enough to make my eyes eater, however there is almost emulation, which I have no shame in recommending in this case.


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