- System: PC, Nintendo Switch
- Publisher: Devolver Digital
- Developer: Askiisoft
- Release Date: April 18, 2019
- Rating: M for Mature
- Genre: Action
- Players: 1
- Official Website: https://www.katanazero.com/
Who it Caters to
What to Expect
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:
- 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
- Gameplay can be a bit repetitive and overly simple at times
- Don’t expect much different than other titles like Katana ZERO