|a game by
|Nintendo Switch, PC (2019)
|8.3/10, based on 2 reviews, 1 review is shown
|7.3/10 - 3 votes
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|2D Platformer Games, Side Scroller Games, Fast-Paced Games
If you’ve played one Metroidvania title, you’ve played them all. This is the opinion of the cynical gamer that has clearly overlooked the offerings the gaming industry has provided in the last few years. The genre is more diverse and impressive than ever before and it seems that Katana Zero is a product of this consistent improvement to the genre as a whole. This retro neon crystalline daydream arrived in 2019 and hoped to provide a cohesive story, complex combat and an artistic direction that set it apart from the games that proceeded it.
If we were to compare this to other games, we would say that it is most comparable to titles like Hotline Miami, Celeste, Hyper Light Drifter, Dead cells and Hollow Knight. This title markets itself as a Metroidvania title with a twist. However, is this a twist for the better? Or is it a contortion that doesn’t sit right with the gaming populous? We find out in our review of Katana Zero.
Metroidvania With a Twist
Firstly, let’s get the neon vapourware aesthetic out of the way first. To say that this game is visually stunning perhaps doesn’t do this game justice. The way that the artists in charge here have taken the Miami Vice, 80’s style and made it look futuristic and unique is a testament to the talent of all those involved. Plus, we need to commend the developers for the game world as a whole. The backdrops, level design, areas you traverse through and the characters you encounter are all gripping and intriguing. The game begs the player to explore and dig deep into the environment here and the great thing is that players get rewarded for their efforts.
The best example of this is perhaps ingrained within the wonderful writing. The game offers something that a lot of Metroidvania titles don’t, a cohesive and compelling story. Players are rewarded for engaging in conversations with NPC’s, the overarching story is superb for the most part and the ability to make decisions that will affect your run allows for emergent gameplay and allows this game to be more than just a linear experience.
Then lastly, lets talk about the gameplay of this game. The combat within this game is a joy to behold. The game conbines quick, precise twitch movements with slow motion time manipulation to allow players a unique fighting style which never gets old throughout the entire run. Plus, as the game progresses, the player is treated to a number of outstanding powerups that allow you to shake up your approach and keep fights fun and fresh. Games of this nature usually live and die by their combat that fills the space between exposition. So thankfully, this game exceeds expectations and excels in this department.
Overall, this game does deliver on its claim to be a Metroidvania game with a twist. The most important aspect of this is the wonderful writing and the emphasis on storytelling above all else. That being said, the gameplay doesn’t suffer as a result. The combat is still fantastic, the level design is excellent, the progression system is balanced and rewarding and the gorgeous pixel art style is a joy to behold from start to end.
The only criticism we have of this game is that it perhaps overstays its welcome and the ending is quite underwhelming in truth. However, this shouldn’t deter you as this is one of the best metroidvania games of the modern era.
- A Neon, retro meets futuristic art style
- Tight combat mechanics
- An emphasis on storytelling and dialogue
- Game is perhaps longer than it needs to be
- The ending leaves a lot to be desired