Gamer dad who loves the classics, indies, racers and the occasional shooter. Have been in the industry for almost two decades now and am as enthusiastic as ever! #4theplayers
Katana ZERO is a fast-paced, trial and error, ultra stylish slaughter house. Utterly frustrated this game makes us break our controller and then start over again. This 80’s violent platformer is just what the Switch needed.
What the hell?
Your character, known only as Dragon, doesn’t really know much either as he suffers from nightmare-filled PTSD from a very fuzzy past. In the meantime, you work under your therapist, of all people, who not only provides you with a mystery drug called Chronos but also assigns you with assassination missions. You don’t know very much about who you are or why you’ve been hired to slice people up. The aesthetic of Katana ZERO is very 80’s/90’s inspired but that isn’t solely limited to its pixel graphics. It’s teamed with an upbeat elektro soundtrack that Dragon keeps in his tape deck.
Essentially, it has a lot to do with trial and error. 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. There were the odd occasions that left us swearing and almost breaking our Switch in half.
Dragon also 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 game play 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.
Though game play isn’t exactly limited to combat like most other 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 “choose-your-own adventure” type of mechanic. However it seemed to only just change the responses you get back with no real repercussions down the line. Being able to be more interactive with how the story plays out made for more of a personal connection to Dragon.
Honestly 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 platformer lovers who like just a bit more punishment with their games.