Title: Samurai Riot
Available On: PC
Where To Buy: Steam
When I walk into an arcade there are immediately two games that I will go out of my way to find: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time or X-Men. There is just something about a simple, beat-em-up, side-scroller that I’ve enjoyed since I was a kid. Because of this, I’m always searching for fun titles like these to play at home. And other than Castle Crashers, I haven’t found anything quite as fun. However, while Wako Factory’s Samurai Riot isn’t perfect, it definitely holds its own in the genre.
Samurai Riot focuses on two warriors: Tsurumaru and Sukane. In this 2D, cooperative side-scroller, the warriors are challenged by much more than just their enemies. With up to eight different endings, the game will force you to decide between your own set of beliefs or your sense of duty as you explore its different story branches. Sukane is a bad-ass brawler assisted by her kitsune, or fox spirit, named Azu, while Tsurumaru slashes through the hordes of enemies with a katana and a handful of grenades.
The best thing about Samurai Riot, in my opinion, is definitely the art style. The bright colors and stylized animation really set the game apart. The bosses are really well done, fun to fight, and each of them have their own unique look and abilities that keep things interesting. While the normal enemies are a bit more generic, their color schemes and attacks change based on their difficulty. Depending on which school, or set of skills basically, you choose for Tsurumaru and Sukane, their own color schemes and clothes change. This attention to detail makes the game fun to look at and leaves players excited to see what the team came up with next.
That being said, the normal hordes of villains are a bit repetitive and they can be a bit of a pain. When it comes to the combat, I just wish there had been a little more. Doing the same thing to the same villains, only harder iterations, over and over again began to lose its appeal. And I firmly believe that if I hadn’t been playing co-op, it might have been nearly impossible to beat on my own. The AI in Samurai Riot is definitely on point though. Aside from long pauses of waiting for enemies to stop blocking or to get up once they’ve been knocked down, the combat goes by pretty quick.
I will give you a small piece of advice though. Please, for your sanity and to save yourself from major hand cramps, just play with a controller. I am not much of a PC gamer, but even I knew the controls were a bit odd. To make things worse, some of the keyboard controls didn’t really work or it was hard to find what keys did what exactly. After switching to a controller, the controls were much easier to handle and the game played much smoother. So, unless you are planning on playing Samurai Riot in extremely small increments, just start out with your controller.
Along with the combat, Samurai Riot also has an interesting narrative aspect that allows the game quite a bit of replayability. Throughout the game, certain moral choices will be laid before you. Depending on what you choose, your characters will travel to different areas with different missions. This little aspect was a pleasant surprise that warrants more than one playthrough.
One of the games greatest strengths is the environment it creates. The detail and love put into the characters and enemies were put into the backgrounds as well. Another important aspect of this is the soundtrack. The soundtrack for this 2D side-scroller is really great; it has a great mix that sounds classic while still feeling modern. Honestly, in more than a few levels, it almost reminded me of the music in the Crash Bandicoot series (which is why I probably liked it so much).
All in all, this is a fun, little title with a lot of interesting things going on. Even the most frustrating points of the game are only minor complaints for the most part. It is just one of those games that you can totally feel the love and care put into it, and I can’t wait to see what else Wako Factory comes up with!
Verdict: Overall, Samurai Riot is something that fans of old arcade side-scrollers, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: A Turtle in Time or X-Men, will definitely enjoy. The colorful, stylized animation really brings something new to the genre along with the musical choices. Despite some repetitive gameplay and poor PC controls, Samurai Riot is a good way to spend an afternoon, especially with a friend!
- Colorful, stylized animation
- Reminiscent of old arcade games
- Fun music
- Interesting narrative choices
- Poor PC Controls
- Repetitive, shallow gameplay