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Review: Katana Zero

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Developer: Askiisoft

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Platform: Switch and PC

Release Date: April 18, 2019

ESRB: M for Mature

 

One of the most influential titles in the indie space is no doubt Hotline Miami. From its psychedelic pixelated visuals, catchy soundtrack, to the quick, ruthless gameplay it is little surprise it garnered such a cult following.  So inspiring was it that developer Askiisoft took nearly six years to realize their own take on some of its spiritual tenants in the form of Katana Zero. With so many clear influences from another title does Katana Zero does enough to stand on its own merits?

 

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There is no doubt that despite a distinctly different choice in primary weaponry that Katana Zero was heavily inspired by Hotline Miami. And with . While any comparison Sekiro would be tenuous at best beyond, well, dude with sword and challenging gameplay, the quote "hesitation is defeat" from a certain character of that game could not be more applicable to the moment to moment gameplay of Katana Zero. Where even a split second of hesitation can easily be the difference between a clean level to an unceremonious death.  

 

With a certain interrogation scene in particular that is incredibly creative in articulating its visual aesthetic. 

 

and considering how snappy, and stylish, the game is even it goads players into a swift almost speedrun-like mentality because the margin for error becomes razor-thin at certain latter half stages.

 

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Voice changes and character models vary based on age.


 

Pros

 

+ Swift, electrifying combat that makes it is easy to jump right back in despite many unceremonious deaths

+ Intriguing storytelling that also creatively leans into its distorted pixelated visuals and VHS motif

+ Poppin' soundtrack

 

Cons

 

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- Outside of some slick boss fights the general simplistic gameplay doesn't really evolve all that much from start to finish

- Ends on an odd cliffhanger with several clearly unresolved story elements (hopefully the upcoming free dlc will remedy that?)

 

 


 

Overall Score: ?.? (out of 10)

Below Average

 

Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection is much better at presenting its list of disappointments as a rhythm game experience than it is at rewarding the passionate Persona fans that would attempt to enjoy it  

 

Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Switch code provided by the publisher.


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