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KO’s Tale: OK KO! Lakewood Plaza Turbo Beginner’s Guide

'OK KO! Lakewood Turbo Plaza' may have a silly name, but it's a solid beat 'em up, you'll want to check out. Before you dive in, though, here're some tips for beginning martial artists.

Welcome to Lakewood plaza, a strip mall of regular-seeming shops and the like that’s secretly home of a group of martial arts enthusiasts. At least for about five seconds.

Players take on the role of KO, the youngest the member of the cabal who’s just learning the ropes in Lakewood Plaza. Until, that is, the whole place is completely destroyed and all of KO’s buddies are turned into brainwashed a-holes. With the help of inexplicably shirtless Mr. Gar — the head martial arts fella — KO must travel the nearby area on a quest to get his friends back and learn sweet new fighting moves.

OK KO! Lakewood Plaza Turbo screen cap

The game is based on a long-gestating Cartoon Network show called Lakewood Plaza Turbo, which is set to premiere a little later this year on the network. In the meantime, gamers can hop on iOS or Android and get their hands on this solid little beat-em-up that plays a little like a dungeon-free Legend of Zelda. If you’re young enough to be watching the cartoon show, you probably won’t get that reference. Anyway … 

When your friends and family take off to engage in evil shenanigans, Mr. Gar tasks young KO with rounding them up one-by-one. This essentially equates to KO traveling the neighborhood in search of his pals.

Controlling KO

At the very beginning of the game, KO is hanging out with some buddies. These first scenes act as a basic set up for the plot (which I won’t spoil … because I wasn’t paying close enough attention). They also act as a tutorial.

OK KO! Lakewood Plaza Turbo screen cap

At the outset, you’ll have one basic attack available to you: the punch. From there, proceeding along the narrative and doing missions when they’re provided to you quickly unlocks the following moves:

  • Press and hold the left side of the screen to walk KO around.
  • Tap the right side of the screen to punch.
  • Slide your finger across the right side of the screen to slide kick.
  • Slide your finger up across the right side of the screen to toss your enemies behind you.
  • Slide your finger down across the right side of the screen to slam the ground.

It may seem like quite a bit, but the game does a great job with the initial pacing so that by the time you learn how to ground pound, you shouldn’t have any problems switching between basic and complex moves.

Don’t get frustrated if it takes a few minutes to get your timing in order. Just remember that the only punishment for death is a quick trip back to Lakewood Plaza, where it’s easy to regroup and tackle the challenge again.

Basic Enemies and Strategies For Murdering Them

Since there would be essentially no point to walking around shadow-boxing, the world of Lakewood Plaza Turbo is filled with enemies. The first three you’ll run across are an easy little robot named Jethro, an immobile turret named Teagan, and a gaunt attacker named Raymond.

Jethro

OK KO! Lakewood Plaza Turbo screen cap

Jethro is the easiest enemy to knock down. Just get close to him and punch as rapidly as possible. He has a fairly weak attack, but if you throw a few punches, walk away from him for a bit, and then pop him in the mouth a few more times, you shouldn’t have any problem facing down swarms of these guys. Just remember to stick and move.

Once you’ve learned more advanced moves (which happens in no time), you’ll be tossing these poor dummies around like there’s no tomorrow.

Teagan

OK KO! Lakewood Plaza Turbo screen cap

Teagan the turret can be a little troublesome. You can’t throw them, and slide-tackles are nearly useless. In other words, they’re best eliminated with punching. However, these little jerks unleash a shot every few seconds. This shot is preceded by a little flashing animation. When you see said animation, stop what you’re doing, get clear of any enemies (especially if you’re working on a Teagan), and get ready to dodge their blasts. 

If you concentrate on your personal safety, you shouldn’t have too much issue.

Raymond

OK KO! Lakewood Plaza Turbo screen cap

If you concentrate on disabling Raymond, he’s no trouble. He’s easily tossed (and you’re unlikely to encounter too many before you earn this ability.) Once he’s down on the ground you can just wail on him until his health bar is depleted. When you’re able to add the ground pound to your arsenal of moves, then he’s a quick one-hit kill.

Don’t underestimate Raymond, though. His move is deadly if you’re not quick enough to avoid it.

Some General Fighting Strategy

If you’re walking along and you’re attacked by all three of these little beasts — which will happen later in the game — then you should take down Raymond first, followed by Jethro, and finally Teagan. Always prioritize your own health over dealing out damage, make sure you remain patient, and you’ll be golden.

Above all, though, stick and move.

The World Beyond The Plaza

Okay, now that you know how to move around, how to deal out damage, and how to tackle enemies, here’s a little more background on the world outside Lakewood Plaza. 

OK KO! Lakewood Plaza Turbo screen cap

When the game begins in earnest (after everything has exploded), it’ll just be Mr. Gar and KO. Gar will send KO into the woods to beat the crap out of some robots and begin de-brainwashing his amigos. 

The semi-open world is essentially a series of branches that unlock as you progress through the plot. The game does a solid job of keeping you on point while you’re on the hunt, but you can also revisit areas once you’ve completed them. New enemies will spawn which allow you to grind out some extra coin (because they obviously drop coins), otherwise there’s no real motivation to do so.

At the end of each mission is a short (read: super easy) quick time event that takes the place of a boss fight. At the end of each QTE, your now de-brainwashed buddy will come back to the plaza with you. Each person you return to Lakewood Plaza will reward you with some small refurbishment which will bring you one step closer to rebuilding the whole thing. Each rebuilt building, like the bodega and the dojo, will provide some small interaction.

For example: 

The first building you rebuild is Gar’s Bodega (which seems like a selfish move, honestly, shirtless Mr. Gar rebuilding his own business first). The bodega is the place to spend the coin you receive as you knock out your foes. Gar’s Bodega provides supplies like health kits, etc.

OK KO! Lakewood Plaza Turbo screen cap

Early on, you’ll also recover your Mom, the owner of Lakewood Plaza’s dojo. Once she’s got her place up and running, you can visit her at various points throughout the plot to learn new moves. Be sure to revisit her often.

Get Ready To Grind

And that’s essentially the gameplay cycle. You’ll get new missions and then you’ll head out to do some head-bashing. It may seem a bit boring, but it’s actually a pretty rewarding little loop. Best of all, it’s free, and the ads — though present — are entirely optional, which can be a refreshing change of pace for a mobile title.

As long as you pay attention to the instructions and you don’t rush the basics, you’re in for a fairly solid little beat ‘em up that provides just enough fun to be well worth a bus ride.

OK KO! Lakewood Plaza Turbo screen cap

Published Feb. 29th 2016

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