usagi

Sponsored Game Review: Usagi Yojimbo

March 26, 2013 - Written By Tom Dawson

Today, there seems no end in sight to the hordes of generic Triple A aping titles that are flooding to the Play Store. It’s one thing to make a mobile version of your game but, it’s another to ape a title popular on consoles and the PC. Yes, Gameloft we’re looking squarely at you. So, wouldn’t it be fun, to play something unique? Something that takes things back to basics but, at the same time offers us something fresh and new? Read on to find out if Usagi Yojimbo is that game.

Description: Usagi Yojimbo is a side-scrolling arcade fighter that’s based on the classic comic by Stan Sakai. You have to prevent evil forces from breaking the seal on some of the most powerful evils known to man. Travel with Miyamoto Usagi through 13 levels as you stop evil from gaining a hold on the world. On your travels you’ll come across 60 different enemies and you’ll have to fight them with your sword and various combos. If you ever played side-scrolling beat ’em ups in the 90s, you’ll be right at home here. If not, you’ve just found something new to play.

How it Works: First of all, you need to decide whether or not you want to download the Free version or the Paid version. The Free version of course, acts like a Demo so you’ll be able to get a glimpse of the game without paying but, if you want to play through all 13 missions you’ll have to pay for the paid version, which isn’t really a lot of money at all.

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When you first start on your journey, you’ll be greeted with a series of cutscenes which outlines the evil to come, if you don’t stop it alongside Miyamoto, of course:

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Before the game throws into the action, the controls will be explained to you:

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As well as some of the basic combos:

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Once you start exploring and fighting off bandits, you’ll notice how easy the controls are, while combat can be a little tricky to grasp at first, it’s not too difficult to master:

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As you progress, you’ll come across bosses from the Yokai which are hard to kill but, rewarding when you defeat them:

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You’ve got to watch the meters at the top of the display, as these correspond to your health – in the center – and your power attack – the square to the left. There’s a vast variety of levels for you to venture through and their around 60 different enemy types to fight against. All of this and more will have you coming back for more, time and time again. It’s definitely worth paying for the paid version if you enjoyed playing through the first few levels.

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Opinion: Usagi Yojimbo reminds me very much of games I used to play on the Super Nintendo and Genesis, like Streets of Rage. That’s a great thing, as some of the old game mechanics are still the best. Side-scrollers were a big thing in the 90s and there’s nothing to sugges they don’t work now. The combat is fun and accessible, animations are fluid and there’s a rich story behind it all to keep you engaged throughout. This is a change of pace for me, away from all the high-end titles I am used to playing on the PC and it takes things back to basics, bringing a whole lot of charm along with it.

Ratings

  • Speed (4/5) – Usagi Yojimbo ran great on my devices and it’s pacing suited the story very well.
  • Features (5/5) – While the story could be seen as a little cheesy, combat is a lot of fun animations are fluid and there’s more than enough on offer to keep players young and old interested.
  • Theme (5/5) – With it’s comic-book styling ad fluid animations, Usagi Yojimbo holds its own against top-tier Android games, not in terms of graphics, but certainly in its overall look and feel.
  • Overall (4/5) – I can see why this game might not be for everyone but, it’s a game I’m sure most will find fresh and appealing.

Pros

  • Great-looking comic-book styling makes this stand out from all the other Android games out there. 
  • Side-scrolling beat ’em up gameplay will make older players remember times spent in arcades, and for new players it’s something different. 
  • Addition of combo moves gives players new ways to combat evil.
  • Unique and interesting boss battles will have you looking forward to your next encounter.
  • Great storyline will appeal to those looking for a little more substance in their games.

Cons

  • Some screens seem like they were designed for the 3:2 aspect of iOS and not Android.
  • Demo version continually asks you to buy the paid version, then again the paid version isn’t a lot of money.

Conclusion: It’s not very often I come across a game that’s as unique as this when it comes Android games. Being based around a brilliant story always helps when creating a game, and here Stan Sakai’s creation shines. The combat is fun and fluid, the characters and enemies are all unique in their look and engage well with players. Usagi Yojimbo is a sort of indie title with a slightly higher fit and finish, you’ll not disappointed when playing through this and there’s more than offer to keep players happy as they play through the 13 levels.

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