Come for the soundtrack, stay for the rage quits. Here is my Katana ZERO review.
Katana ZERO is a 2D action platformer, a genre that is way out of my gaming comfort zone. If my memory serves me right, the previous 2D platformer I played was Superfrog on the Amiga some time during the 1990s. I suspect that I tend to avoid the genre because if you mess up, your mistake has immediate and disastrous consequences. You usually die, and it’s game over, man! Or at least you have to restart from the previous checkpoint.
In simulation and strategy game games, which are my preferred genres, it’s often possible to mitigate failures. If your star fleet is destroyed, it’s probably not the end of the
world universe. You can call in the reserves, or build a new star fleet. And if you somehow managed to mess up a delivery of carbonated black powder Bologna to Bordeaux, there’s always another job you can take.
So how did I come across Katana ZERO? Why, the soundtrack, of course!
Just Another Indie Pixel-Game?
But before we come to the totally awesome soundtrack, let’s backtrack a little.
Katana ZERO is set in the city of New Mecca, a dystopic, neo-noir metropolis. The game’s protagonist, Zero, is a katana-wielding assassin, who visits his shrink by day, and paints the city red with his target’s blood by night.
Since the developing story in Katana ZERO, and the gradual revelation of Zero’s own backstory is an integral part of the game, I won’t go into details here. But it involves a war long gone, drugs, time-travel, and - unsurprisingly - a fair bit of katana killing.
As a platformer, Katana ZERO is amazingly well designed. The action is fluid, and never miss a beat. I played it with an Xbox 360 gamepad, and the controls feel just right. There aren’t too many buttons to keep track of, and jump-slash-slide-tactics will get you a long way.
At least in the earlier levels.
A few levels in, everything gets a bit more complicated. You can’t just hack-and-slash your way through the enemies. Instead, you’ll need to plan ahead a bit, and prepare yourself to try again, and again, and again before you make it through (if you’re as bad at platformers as me).
Katana ZERO use checkpoints generously, so when you do get killed, you don’t have to repeat a lot of game play. But I did feel that familiar rage all you gamers have felt at some point build up every now and then.
If you enjoy 2D action platforms, and is capable of resisting the rage that usually comes with the genre, there’s no doubt in my mind that you have to play Katana ZERO.
Last but not least, the Katana ZERO soundtrack we need to talk about the soundtrack. Filled with tracks by LudoWic, Bill Kiley, and others, it’s the perfect soundtrack to a game like Katana ZERO. You can listen to it on Bandcamp, Spotify, and probably other places as well.
I’m not sure why you’re still reading this. Go play some Katana ZERO.