Devolver Digital has been keeping on with maintaining a strong lineup of games this year, and the latest to come out of the publisher is Askiisoft's Katana ZERO. Taking cues from Ronin, Mark of the Ninja, and any given samurai story, this game is a blast from beginning to end.
The plot of Katana ZERO is mostly shrouded in mystery, but you play as a hitman ronin that uses a katana to defeat any that stand in his way of killing their target, all for a group that wants to 'clean up' some otherwise bad people. As you play the game, you'll go to a psychiatrist between each mission to help the main character with their recurring nightmares, as well as provide them medication to deal with their physiological issues as a result of these nightmares. More of their past is also revealed through these interactions. And maybe this group you work for isn't being straight with you either.
Aside from watching the interesting story unfold, the missions themselves are fantastic to play through. Each mission has a kicking soundtrack to listen to, and range from doing various things like killing enemies quickly, avoiding traps, or avoiding detection. You can only take a single hit, so you need to be cautious when engaging enemies. Thankfully, you can also grab objects and throw them at enemies from afar. But if that's not enough, there's a bullet time mechanic that can help you evade attacks or get tricky attacks of your own off.
The pixel art and lighting in the game is fantastic, and just about the only weakness in Katana ZERO is the lack of a voice track to deepen the immersion level of the game, and getting a better feel of some of these character's personalities. But aside from that, Katana ZERO is a fantastic experience with a great balance of challenge, striking audio-visuals, amusing bits, and a story worth seeing to the end of this 3 hour minimum game length adventure. The fact that it's only fifteen bucks certainly helps in convincing people to pick it up. I highly recommend this game.
Promotional consideration provided by Thomas Schulenberg of Tinsley PR. Reviewed on the PC.
Eric is a freelance writer and has a podcast called RPGrinders, and you can support their Patreon page here.