Askiisoft’s Award wining Indie sleeper hit Katana Zero strikes again as the game has been ported to Xbox One (X) for release on October 15th. Great excuse to revisit this gem and give it a second go.
Katana ZERO is a fast-paced, trial and error, ultra stylish slaughter house. You will need to Slash, dash, and manipulate time to unravel your past in a beautifully brutal acrobatic display of testosterone. It’s utterly frustrating and pisses us off within moments of picking up the controller.
This 80’s themed violent action platformer is just what the Switch last year and the Xbox now needs. Your character, known only as the Samurai/Assassin called Zero/Dragon, doesn’t really know much of what is going on as he is suffering from nightmare-filled PTSD from a very fuzzy past. In the meantime, you work for your therapist, of all people, who provides you with a mystery drug called Chronos. And also assigns you with crazy assassination missions. You don’t know very much about who you are or why you’ve been hired to slice people up. Who cares! Lets slice and dice. The aesthetic of Katana ZERO is very 80’s/90’s inspired but that isn’t solely limited to its pixel graphics. The game as an amazing themed upbeat and absolutely delightful electro synthwave soundtrack, composed by the brilliant LudoWic and Bill Kiley, that Dragon keeps in his tape deck. Link to the soundtrack can be found below (you can thank us later):
Essentially, it has a lot to do with trial and error. There is little room for error though as the game is an Action platformer that features instant death. There are times where you nail the execution on the first try. However, there were plenty of moments where you will go in, get shot down, go in again, get killed, go again… you get the idea. On top of that you also need to take diverse obstacles and environmental dangers into acount. As you can imagine there were multiple occasions that made us swear and in such a mental state that we almost broke our controller in half.
Dragon has the ability to slow down time, meaning you are able to dodge and parry enemies with ease. By taking advantage of this, you will pull off some pretty cool and very satisfying kills. The beauty of the gameplay and the level design is that there is more than one way to clear a room. It gave us plenty of freedom to experiment with different strategies if we were ever stuck with the same dilemma. This meant that the none of the levels ever felt entirely the same.
Katana Zero’s game play isn’t limited to combat like most other action platformers. The fast paced action is broken up with interactive story driven scenes in between where you converse with your therapist and other NPCs. Your conversation responses initially felt like a standard “choose-your-own adventure” type of mechanic. Being able to have the option to be a little more interactive with how the story plays out made for more of a deeper emotional connection to Dragon.
Honestly, thin story aside, it’s hard to find a flaw in Katana ZERO. It’s an addictive process of strategic trial and error, no matter how frustrated you get. Combined with it’s retro aesthetic and awesome soundtrack, it’s an action-packed joyride for Action platformer lovers who like a side dish of punishment with their games.