Review copy provided courtesy of Carlos Coronado.
Koral is a game created by Carlos Coronado, an indie developer known for his previous title Infernium. Koral is a side-scrolling game taking place under the sea. You guide what looks like a sea current through reefs, wrecked ships, caves and more finding your path to the next level by navigating these environments and opening your way by solving puzzles. You also gather some collectibles that give you information on the nature, life and other aspects of the coral. This is never distracting and adds educative value to the experience.
The game controls are simple, the aesthetics beautiful creator and the music very relaxing. With all that said, let’s see how accessible it is. I played on PC using mouse and keyboard mainly and these are my findings.
The menus can be fully navigated by using the mouse, arrow keys or gamepad.
In the Audio menu you can independently adjust the volume of music and sound effects.
In Accessibility you can adjust the text size for the previously mentioned educative information. For information on those please read the Deaf/hoh review on this same site. The only information regarding controls is a text stating that “You’ll only need one input to play Koral from start to finish.” I would like to have here at least a scheme of the keys and gamepad controls needed.
The Video and Graphics menu covers the usual options for resolution, window mode, Vsync… as well as the quality of the different graphic elements.
How to Play
To navigate menus you can use the mouse cursor or use the default keys or gamepad controls.
The gameplay is simple. Navigate the scenarios opening closed paths by solving the puzzles. These include gathering light/heat from different sources to light different elements, use the sea currents to gain momentum to open barriers or interact with formations of coral to move rock blocks.
All these elements are simple and introduced in a very well paced manner to add complexity over time but never overwhelm you. It’s all very visual and casual with a calm atmosphere that helps to make it even more relaxing.
All the gameplay is performed with just four directions and nothing else. Nothing to click, no keys to interact with the environment… just hold the direction you want to swim. The controls are briefly shown at the game start, but here they are.
You can use also both gamepad sticks and the d-pad. To access the menu use the Escape, Enter, Backspace and Delete keys and the Select button if using a gamepad.
Conclusions and issues
There is little to say. This game doesn’t have great mobility issues due to the simplicity of the basic gameplay and controls. Of course, I would prefer having a bit more options. Sensitivity settings for gamepad would be welcome to adjust how much you have to press the sticks. Keyboard remapping should always be included for every person has his/her own needs and no matter how simple the controls, even four keys can be a problem depending on a person’s disability. You can use a third party utility like Autohotkey to remap them on your own but I always prefer to have the option in-game. In Windowed mode the mouse cursor is not confined to the game window making the use of on-screen keyboards possible for those needing it.
Koral is a nice game, easy to learn, great to watch and experience. Its visuals and music create a very unique atmosphere. With minor improvements, it would be perfectly accessible for everyone in the mobility aspect. This is one of those cases where the score is negatively impacted by not having key/button remapping even though it might not be a problem. It really had me torn when giving the final score, but I always try to reinforce the idea that the score is a mathematical average of different aspects and not a statement on the real accessibility of any game. If you read this review you can see the game is very accessible, even more than games with higher scores.
Anthony Martins is 42 and has been a gamer his whole life. He has SMA Type 2 and can be found on Twitter at @Black1976
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