...despite great music and simple gameplay Samurai Beatdown feels like a rhythm game without a beat.
Samurai Beatdown is a 2D-sidescrolling rhythm-action game that’s best quality is likely how simple it is to jump into the game and start playing. As a samurai constantly running through five different stages you’ll find enemies approaching from either the left or right. Tapping on the left or right side of the screen will attack enemies on the corresponding side of the samurai resulting in either a perfect, good, poor or missed hit. Whereas in other rhythm games you might find notes passing through a specific indicator so that you know when to tap to the beat, in this game the enemies glow at a specific point. The outline of an enemy will turn white when they’re right next to your samurai which signals a short window in which you’ll be able to tap to score a perfect hit. After building up a lengthy combo you can tap an icon on the top left side of the screen to enter “Frenzy Mode” which doubles your multiplier for a short period of time.
As easy as Samurai Beatdown is to get into and just start playing the game has a couple of problems that kept taking me out of the ‘zone’ that I tend to get into while playing rhythm games. First off it can be really difficult to discern what the actual beat is that you’re supposed to be tapping to. Numerous times it felt as if I was just tapping to kill enemies not to correlate with the song that was playing. Then on some occurrences I’d get into a decent rhythm with the game and the beat would suddenly change in a way that threw me off causing me to have to readjust in a way that would usually screw me up.
Among the three difficulty modes you’ll have five stages to choose from. Stages rank you on a scale of 3 medals. With no leaderboards in the game the replay value will be in trying to top your own score and by attempting to get all three medals. With each stage being around four minutes long you can get through everything the game has to offer in a pretty short amount of time. Oddly I feel like that’s a plus because that’s the amount of time it’ll take to unlock the hardest difficulty which also is the one that’s the most fun to play. While I still had issues with keeping track of the beat for each song I did find that playing on the hardest mode in the game made things just a little better and clearer.
For $0.99 you get an okay rhythm game containing some rather enjoyable music. I did have fun with Samurai Beatdown and it’s certainly a fine game but I’m not sure I’ll go back to it often. We did hear from the developers that they plan to support the game post launch though. Constantly trying to figure out what beat to follow just made the game feel a bit off when thinking of it as a rhythm game. So if you’ll pardon the pun despite great music and simple gameplay, Samurai Beatdown feels like a rhythm game without a beat.
A copy of this game was purchased for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation Vita version of the game.
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