Remember the days of a side-scrolling beat-em-up where you are challenged to continue, fight some awesome bosses, and includes a great story? To be honest, not many included all these, but most earn a tick. Samurai Riot has now been released on Steam and it does tick all those boxes.
I have been enjoying nostalgia lately, remembering old games like Streets of Rage, Altered Beast, and Double Dragon. Now before you judge me for my age, those games were some of the best games we used to play back then, both at home, and at the local arcade.
Samurai Riot brings all that familiar gameplay to the gaming world today. Being a 2D side-scrolling action game, you control either Sukane or Tsurumaru in their adventures. Both characters are different and have varying abilities. Sukane is somewhat weaker than Tsurumaru however she has the assistance from her companion fox but both are equally as enjoyable to play with.
I did make the error of not checking out the available controls at first and did not realise there are special moves that each character can perform. I don’t think the old games had these, if they do I don’t recall them, but I especially liked this being included and was able to easily pull the moves off during battles with my own style. This added an extra appeal to larger battles and broke up some of the monotony that can be apparent.
The levels are much longer than I expected which means that if you were to die somewhere during a level, there is more that is required to regain your progress. Also, the variation in boss fights was well received.
Something I really like about Samurai Riot is the “choose your own adventure” style to the game. There are a number of moments during the dialogue where you are given a choice of moral options. This gives the game multiple variations of story leading up to 8 different endings. I love this about the game as this alone gives the players much more re-playability. The first one of these I encountered was deciding on whether I followed my master’s wishes which could lead to many innocent people dying, or alternatively choosing to save the civilians and going against my master and being banished. What would you choose?
The only down side that I can comment in regards to this game, is the fact that despite the different levels and enemies, the general gameplay can get monotonous at times and hence I found that playing this game in small chunks did allow me to enjoy the game rather than long duration play sessions.
Another way you can play this game, and one that will be advantageous for newcomers to the game type, is the co-op mode. This allows two people to play on the same screen and work through the story together. Aside from decimating your enemies more efficiently and easily, there is also an ability to conduct a synchronised attack. If you are now wondering how the moral decision is conducted with two players making individual choices, well this has been considered as well.
Obviously, if both players agree, then the mutual choice will be chosen. But if they disagree, the players are entered into a PvP battle mode and the victor of this battle will get to choose their fate. I love this idea. I cannot comment about how this runs as I was only able to play in solo mode.
Graphics & Audio
I have made several references to old games and Samurai Riot, but gameplay style is where that ends. The graphical presentation of this game is a smooth comic style which is free of defections. All your movements have been mapped accurately and without lag. The special attacks area of effect is relevant to the animation and models. In fact, the characters and destroyable objects match to the environment very well and do not have the “added on top” appearance that we have seen in the past with some games.
The sound is something that really stood out to me. The combat sounds are relevant and nothing seemed out of place or mis-timed. But the background soundtrack is really good and blended with the rest of the game.
Samurai Riot is a good game, also being a respectable homage to the games I remember playing as a child. It has solid replayability with the decision options between levels leading to a number of different endings. Even with this variation, it is something that I can only play in parts as it can get a bit monotonous. I will look forward to playing this in co-op mode as this may make a difference. Other than that, it is something I would recommend to fans of the 2D side-scrolling brawlers.