iPhone Game Review - Samurai: Way of the Warrior
It is 16th century Japan and you are the lone samurai, Daisuke Shimada. The evil Hattoro has brought suffering to the land, and it is up to you to deliver justice with your katana. Slice, dice, and decapitate your way through a compelling storyline that will leave you wanting to see the story of Daisuke continue. And, oh yes, there will be blood.
The game features some very nice, unique artwork. The story is told in between levels via the panels of a manga style comic. These set the stage for each of the game's seven levels as you face off against Hattoro's henchmen and eventually Hattoro himself.
From the Main Menu, you can choose to start a new game, resume a current game in progress, or select Dojo mode which is essentially an endurance mode. Press Help for a nice video tutorial explaining the basics of gameplay.
Samurai: Way of the Warrior makes very nice use of the iPhone's touch interface. The game uses a lure control system to control where Daisuke goes. Simply touch the screen and he moves to that location. Drag your finger and Daisuke follows.
Combat is where things get truly interesting. The game makes use of a series of simple swipes to execute sword combos. The gestures are easy to learn and consist of two or three simple swipes left, right, or up. As you prgress through the game, you learn more powerful combo moves. If you can't remember how to perform a particular combo, simply press the scroll icon in the upper-right and a list of your current combos is displayed. To attack an individual foe, you draw the desired combo's gestures on top of that foe. Don't draw in large swipes across the screen, just small swipes on top of an enemy.
You can chain combo gestures together if you time them correctly to deliver punishing attacks, take out multiple foes, and create some wonderfully bloody and spectacular deaths. Foes may be decapitated, sliced diagonally through their torsos, or even cleaved in half vertically. Occasionally, blood will be spattered onto your screen as if you were watching the action through a camera placed overhead. All of this gives the game a very cinematic and gory feel to it.
The graphics of manga panels between chapters are beautifully drawn and colored while the heavy lines and bold colors used during gameplay give Samurai: Way of the Warrior a nice oriental feel. There are lots of small details to appreciate as well from the clouds that float across the screen to the way Daisuke flicks blood off his katana and sheaths it after a battle.
Authentic sounding, traditional Japanese music provides a counterpoint to the bloody action on the screen. The battles are full of nicely done sounds including sword clashes and sprays of blood. Opponents lead off with their attacks with shouts...use this to your advantage and dodge only to land your own deadly blows.
-nice use of the touch-based interface of the iPhone
-beautiful graphical style
-Dojo endurance mode
-nice, bloody action
-game resumes from the last checkpoint reached
-enemies for the most part are differed only by the color of their clothing...you won't be fighting any weird beasts or anything like that, good if you're into authenticity, but could be lacking in variety to some
-Chapter 3 can be frustrating as the difficulty ramps up here - luckily there are many checkpoints for you to restart from
-you receive a score, but the game does not have a local or global leaderboard
-no achievements - it would be neat to receive achievements for killing multiple foes with one blow or to have stats tracked like the number of enemies decapitated
Overall, this is a beautifully, fun game combined with a nicely told story. I liked the use of gestures for the attacks and the bloody deaths of your foes can be very satisfying to watch. The game's ending will definitely have you wanting to continue the adventures of Daisuke, the wandering samurai.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: -4.5- very nicely done from the manga cut scenes to the blood flying during combat
Sound: -4.5- authentic sounding background music and nice sounds of battle
Controls: -4.5- nice use of the touch interface, gestures are easy to use
Gameplay: -5- fun and bloody, very entertaining
Playing Hints and Tips:
-Don't draw your gestures wildy on the screen or you will get cut down repeatedly by your foes. Make deliberate movements.
-When you see multiple enemies, draw them off one at a time, you will likely get killed otherwise.
-In later chapters, you need to master dodging enemy attacks, when they yell, swipe left or right to dodge. The timing must be right for this to work correctly.
Developer: Mad Finger Games
Release Date: August 31, 2009
Buy Game: iTunes App Store
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