“Samurai II: Vengeance” is the sequel to “Samurai : Way of the Warrior”. Both are reasonably successful iOS titles, developed with the game development system Unity, and featuring quite gorgeous cell shaded, smoothly animated graphics of Japanese fighting characters. But how does this touch screen title translate onto iMac and MacBook Pro?
I am a big fan of Unity as a development system. And it is great to see it getting more and more of a foothold in the gaming industry – opening up opportunities to a massive indie cottage industry, as well as some seasoned devs. who want an easy to use, world class game engine at their fingertips.
And the general quality of games like Samurai : Way of the Warrior, and its sequel I am reviewing today, are a great advert for part script / part code / part GUI developed gaming titles. And why not? Heavyweight’s like Epic’s Unreal engine are also primarily script driven game engines at the end of the day.
The first thing you’ll notice about either of Mad Finger Game’s ancient Japanese themed hack and slash games are the beautiful graphics, and the smooth animations of your player character as he traverses levels hacking enemy Samurai fighters into many pieces.
Gameplay is super simple, but unfortunately weirdly crippled on OS X. Arrow keys, or the W, S, A & D keys, control the direction your character moves around levels. And you then either use the right or left mouse button to control light or heavy attacks – respectively. This is really unintuitive, especially for a title that already works on iOS with just a touch screen.
The control system is made all the more frustrating because you don’t seem to fully control who your player is attacking with the direction keys. Rather your character seems to pick the closest enemy – most of the time.
In effect what seems to have happened with Samurai II is that the aspects of the control system which make touch screen play simple enough to be fun, but not frustrating for iOS users, have been swapped out for even less control on a system which has both a mouse with multiple buttons, and some 50 or more keys on a keyboard.
Once you get over the confusion of the control system and come to terms with it you can enjoy the linear, but beautifully rendered multi-level scenery of each game section. As you progress through levels there are barrels to smash up for extra points. You can also choose different combo attacks, and level up those attacks as you progress – doing fun things like chopping your enemies in half with your Samurai sword. Those enemies can then peel into two halves when you deliver your final blow, and the screen and environment get splattered with blood as your foes die. Which is fun – and well done.
Enemy Samurai sword fighters attack in varying waves in each level. And there are enough different ways to dispatch them, to whatever heaven or hell medieval sword fighters go to, to keep you entertained for a while.
Scattered around the levels are lots of environmental effects, like petals from trees, as well as puzzles which open the way to new levels. And these are well executed and very pretty to look at. As are the various levels of depth you get in the multi-height maps.
But all the time you seem to be alternating between what seems to be intuitive attacks on your enemies and mad flailing around. This is because the way that the game decides your targets for you is either randomly in sync with your wishes, or is on a wavelength all of its own. This is daft when you consider we have a mouse in our hand, and are able to control the way our character faces, but are not able to control who he attacks in any sensible way.
For the price Samurai II is probably worth it on a mobile device, and even perhaps on a desktop machine for the stunning visuals alone. But the gameplay needs a lot more depth, and lot more work on the way it interacts with you, the actual player! So overall this game unfortunately leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.
“Samurai II: Vengeance” still needs some work for the desktop version, which is a shame as the music and the graphics are superb.
- Beautiful graphics.
- Beautiful animations.
- Atmospheric music.
- Control system frustrating.
- A little lacking in depth for a desktop title.
Released: Mar 15, 2011
Size: 41.0 MB
Seller: MADFINGER Games, a.s.
© MADFINGER Games, a.s.
Rated 12+ for the following:
Frequent/Intense Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
Frequent/Intense Realistic Violence
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later