Any game that starts with a pitch that goes “You play as a samurai…” is already enough to convince a lot of folks. Katana Zero takes that pitch and slaps on a bunch of other really cool video game ideas.
The premise is simple and cool. You play as a samurai assassin called The Dragon. It all starts out with you doing what you do best but the story becomes a tad interesting as you dive deeper into the identities of The Dragon and the characters around him. While it ends up being overwhelming after a few hours, its 2D action gameplay is anything but.
Fast is the primary adjective in Katana Zero. Regular opponents die in one hit but so do you. Levels are relatively short and restarting just takes a few seconds. You also have access to a slow-motion mechanic which helps you deflect bullets with your katana plus items you can pick up throughout the levels. It’s pretty intense and gratifying to string combo kills while not getting slaughtered yourself, then seeing all the action on replay.
Presentation is what separates a decent game from a memorable one. Katana Zero’s neon-lit pixel graphics and synth-wave beats make it an absolute joy to play. It also helps that the animations are so well done that sometimes you forget you’re playing an indie game.