Katana ZERO - PC Review

Killing to the groove

Game Info:

  • System: PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Devolver Digital
  • Developer: Askiisoft
  • Release Date: April 18, 2019

Who it Caters to

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We’re used to Devolver Digital making some stylish and brutal games. Equally, we’re used to rage inducing games like Hotline Miami and The Hong Kong Massacre. It’s almost easy to forget that they both have one common aspect. Both titles—and games like it—are stylish as well as fun to play. Newcomer Katana ZERO tries to take the stylings of both indie games while being unique in several ways. Does Katana ZERO stand with the best? If you care to find out--and we know you do--you’ll continue reading to see our full review of Katana ZERO for the PC

What to Expect

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Katana ZERO is a 2D action title that gives players control of a katana wielding warrior who loves to listen to cassette tapes while killing his enemies. You’ll have to slice and chop enemies, avoid lasers and dodge various hazards to accomplish your mission successfully. Our warrior has a rather unique ability though in the form of premonition. That means dying--which will happen--isn’t the end and only serves as a warning to the warrior of what not to do in his second run. Mission after mission awaits you warrior...how will you handle it?


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A phone rings and a voice echoes out claiming you have to rescue the hostage. You enter the room, put your favorite song on and pull your blade out...your job of bloodshed commences. This is your role in Katana Zero. You’re a hired swordsman who has the ability to predict what will happen before it does. Use that special gift to survive various challenges and complete your missions to keep your employer happy. However, is this the life you wish to lead or is there more you can or want to do? Find those answers for yourself but in the meantime...kill those who stand before you swordsman!


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Katana ZERO at first glance looks just like any other indie game. Modern 2D sprite art combined with action and tough gameplay isn’t new to us gamers. That doesn’t mean we thought Katana ZERO was going to be bad by any means When we finally got to play it though our opinions changed greatly. Did we love Katana ZERO or did it fail to deliver? Time to find out in our full review of Katana ZERO for the PC!

As mentioned above, Katana ZERO is a game very similar to titles like Hotline Miami or The Hong Kong Massacre. Players control an assassin wielding a katana and must kill baddies all without being hit once. Get hit by anything from a bullet to a punch and you’ll have to restart the level from the beginning. What is cool though is that our assassin has a strange “power” –there’s a truth to that power, but we won’t spoil it—that allows him to slow time and predict what might or might not happen. The prediction system acts more like a tool to justify a restart system but it is implemented in a way that makes levels feel stylish and futuristic.

In terms of time manipulation, our assassin friend can slow time down which allows him to dodge bullets--or slash them with the sword--as well as dodge various level puzzles/hazards. It’s a very simple mechanic as you just need to slash enemies and dodge danger, but it works to keep Katana ZERO fun and simple. There’s an added gameplay mechanic in the form of dialogue choice--not seen in other titles like Hotline Miami--that lets players change the story a bit and alter how the assassin acts towards situations.

Another theme we love of Katana ZERO is the presentation and music. Every level begins with our assassin putting his headphones on and placing a cassette in the system. The music you’ll hear from there always sounds intense and action themed with some tracks being perfect tunes to listen to even when not playing. Add that to the great sprite designs and level aesthetics and Katana ZERO does a great job in terms of visuals and sounds.

If we had any problems with Katana ZERO, it would be with the reliance on themes used in other games like it. Katana ZERO is fun and intense—as well as tough sometimes—but it’s not anything we’ve not seen before. In defense of Katana ZERO, there isn’t much you can do with this formula, but that in turn makes us see the cliché themes a bit easier. You’ll still enjoy every second of Katana ZERO, but you might find it hard not to think of other games like it while playing.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

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Katana ZERO is what you call simple but great fun. There’s challenge to be had with the need to learn from death--a very common theme in video games nowadays--but that doesn’t ruin the overall experience that is Katana ZERO. The music also is awesome that we hope we can get the OST eventually just to play when driving to work or going on a run! Overall, Katana ZERO isn’t changing the genre but in this case...it doesn’t need to. It’s an awesome game worth the cash in your wallet.

Honey's Pros:

  • Excellent art style that makes Katana ZERO stand on its own
  • Has an epic OST that you could listen to for hours on end making death not as painful
  • Simple but fun single hit mechanics that make levels tough but fair
  • Intriguing story that feels shaped by your actions during choices/gameplay

Honey's Cons:

  • Gameplay can be a bit repetitive and overly simple at times
  • Don’t expect much different than other titles like Katana ZERO

Honey's Final Verdict:

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Titles like Hotline Miami and Katana ZERO are the reasons we love retro themed games. Yes, they might be pumped out constantly by indie developers but that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable. That can be proven in Katana ZERO as it’s a game we could replay several times and still think of new ways to kill baddies or do a run through a level better! Are you going to pick up Katana ZERO too? Comment below to let us know! Be sure to keep stuck to our hive here at Honey’s Anime for even more reviews for games and anime!

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Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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