Askiisoft perhaps it is not the best known study of video games and in reality it is rather a collective of developers of whom we know less than little. As they mention on their official website, they are committed to the quality of their products, which is more than noticeable in Katana Zero.
This kind of anonymity that the creator likes helps to appreciate and understand his work more by removing the subject it has developed, which is very complicated nowadays because of the enormous visibility that the directors have. In any case, it is not the purpose of this assessment to analyze the role that a name has recognized in the credits of a work and how it can become an influence on its consumption.
A Katana is always difficult to counterfeit
Katana Zero is a title that does not fully accommodate the genres, because it is one neo-noir of platforms and action, as the description on the official site says; However, this explanation tells us very little about what really happens in the game. Let's start by pointing out that neo-noir is a term that comes from cinema and is derived from a first concept of the critic Nino Frank at the end of the 40s. The "neo" became popular in the & # 39; 70 with characters that are anti-heroes, dystopian social contexts, technology and especially neon aesthetics.
By reducing all concepts of the game to the simplest point, we can say that it is an action title, high speed, in 2D with side / vertical view in which we have an eight position control for the movements of the Sprites, where the use of time can be manipulated at will thanks to a mechanism that complements the story. The previous synthesis is not necessarily bad and it helps us to understand what awaits us in Katana Zero – in this review we will explore ideas about mechanics.
Katana Zero gets a lot of inspiration Hotline Miami what is infamous in his system of a blow – a death in both respects. Namely, with a touch of our katana or object, we will end up bloody with our enemies and they will do the same even with a thrust that decapitates us in the purest style of Tarantino. Askiisoft gives the clearest example of what is inspired and takes things to the next step because it never stagnates in the already known, on the contrary, through its levels the player learns new mechanics that result in a final exam, name it somehow way in which almost everything is presented and you have to read the level as quickly as possible. since the element of time becomes a determining factor. Speaking of time, we will always have a bar that tells us how much we have left to complete each scenario, something that could initially go unnoticed, but at critical moments, it becomes one of many factors to understand to to overcome the challenge.
The closed places are the exact formula!
Most of the time, the game takes place in confined spaces that cause the feeling of claustrophobia that is needed to make us think quickly about the alternatives we have to liquidate all the enemies on the screen, because although most scenarios are floors in buildings are, these are They are not linear, but they offer a number of options to move around. This makes the game less frustrating because if we initially choose route A and it doesn't work, we can try to get B to get a different result and a different behavior from the rival.
These levels of enclosed spaces consist of platforms that work more as a resource than as the challenge itself, namely that we can use them to attack from below and vice versa. In addition, some parts, such as doors, act as tools that help us kill more effectively and spend the least amount of resources to continue – this is in the sense of ending an opponent without the need to handle the sword –
Time and rhythm
One of the most important mechanisms of the game is the manipulation of time. We can make it slower before our eyes thanks to the use of a medicine that is given to us at the start of each mission. When we start each new goal, we get an injection and give us a detailed file of our goal that helps us understand history from different perspectives, because the content of this file tells us the role of each goal in the world in which the plot was developed. Anyway, this will be discussed more in the history section.
There is an immense amount of titles in which we can manipulate the time to move easily and achieve things that would otherwise be impossible, but in Katana Zero there is no imperative, but a tool that can be used when desired and as you wish . Explaining, we can let the time go slower to reflect the bullets of enemies with firearms or a better response to those who are faster, but their use is not mandatory but depends on the playing style that most suits us how we do this will implement – as we have already said, level design gives us more than one way to do things.
In this sense, the game has a balance with an indicator that limits us to the use of this power and also when we execute it, the number of movements that we do decreases its rank, forcing us to be more accurate, otherwise we have lost several images of animation and everything, even if it moves slower, will kill us. All of the above is done by pressing the Back button on the remote control and can be activated and deactivated immediately, so we must also calculate how much we will delay the time and when we return to normal speed, because if we do it wrong, the following is to restart the level.
Speaking of restarting, this works like rewinding one VHS. When we die, there will be an animation in which we seem to be moving the tape backwards and it will leave us at the beginning of the scenario we are in, no matter how far we have arrived, which is reasonable enough because it lets us know what we did wrong so try another alternative; that is, the game will teach us its language and will always read its levels, but going back in time this argumentative explanation is explained by a power to see the future, which results in that we did not really die, but rather had a vision of the future of what we would have done, and this vision only becomes reality if we complete the challenge of each scenario.
Speaking of the rhythm of the game, this is done impeccably, because when it seems as if the repetition of moving within buildings will become a constant, the title breaks with it and gives us outdoor levels that are still fully controlled environments, but They give you the exact variety to never be repetitive or boring.
Life. Death. In the midst of harmony
In Katana Zero, action and speed are of paramount importance, but we have many moments of relaxation in which mechanics can change drastically and demand absolute secrecy, or which seem like a very everyday noir in which we find ourselves. a dirty apartment that ultimately results in very remarkable parts of its history. Returning to the parts of the game, these moments are pleasant respites before returning to frenzy, creating an ideal balance that causes a rhythm of play that avoids frustration.
The harmony we are talking about is also found in the additions of small but highly intelligent puzzles that are presented in different scenarios. These riddles are so well designed that they make us feel good when we solve them, because they are based on simple principles that the game itself has taught us and then exploits, so that we have to look for a second option for what we already understood .
Praised be the Kinestesia
It is remarkable that the kinestesia has its first speaker in a sidescroller – in Super Mario Bros from NES – and that it now manifests itself in a great way in another 2D many years later. Normally, this sense of weight and physical fingers that directly connects us with what's happening in the box has been achieved more in 3D games, because the animation allows us to feel a more real weight; however, in Katana Zero the weight is sufficient and the physics works in a way where even the simplest movement seems to be an extension of our understanding of space-time intuition, giving it a smooth gameplay and for us it makes us feel satisfied when we are on perform what we want in an almost natural way.
The Katana who tasted the blood and the Ronin
History puts us in the shoes of a sort of war veteran samurai who is now a contract killer of an organization that is not exactly good or bad, that is, moves in an ethical gray. Our protagonist will someday be known as The Dragon and has a huge charisma because its character is achieved thanks to the empathy that the anti-hero keeps with nobility and also, is looking for its way amid confusion and lost memory because of a serious wound that nearly killed him.
Katana Zero has two stories that co-exist. The first is experienced when we skip the dialogues and choose to live only the action, obey the requests of the game itself, and the second is presented when we decide to take a moment to choose between some answers and so to know more about our context, something that of course, our boss does not like anything, who is also our therapist and changes the dynamics of the relationship we have with him, as well as with some of the bosses and a strange relationship with a girl. Here we find many references from León the Professional to Samurai X.
The story, when investigated, is one of the best we've seen in style games in a long time since it goes through very difficult topics, such as the manipulation of who is supposed to protect you and the violence experienced in the day that day for the drug market; Let us make it clear, however, that it is not a masterpiece, let alone because it falls under many of the conventions of the cyberpunk genre. This is not necessarily bad, but with the short duration it has, the work is not fully understood in the fictional world that is being built, otherwise the protagonist will have much to develop.
For the rest we have no complaints, because it is a well-written story that develops well with the passage of the game and that is quite destructible, so we only mentioned the basis for you to discover it for you the same, because it it is worth entering the contexts that we present.
Pixel Art at the highest level
Normally independent games opt for "retro" art because it is easier to program or because they want to play with the nostalgia of the past, but Askiisoft is an exception to the rule, because choosing this pixel art does not make development more bearable, because it is at a very high level of detail – because yes, it fulfills the promise that they are of the highest quality – the sprites are fully animated and even some sort of dynamic lighting is observed on the pixels in different environments, something that is rarely seen. Everything is detailed with a level of mastery that deserves recognition and this results in a sense of beauty that resonates within us and causes an emotional connection with the quietest moments, as well as with the most bloody and most intense moments.
Having this quality of animation in pixel art gives you the magic to make everything feel alive and to be part of a whole … a small universe in which everything is harmonized and coherent at all times.
We have had no problems in the implementation aspects and on the contrary, both with the switch connected to the screen and in the portable mode, we did not notice any loss of pictures … it is a beautiful game from which you run.
Neon and cyber vibrate
The music that accompanies us in every part of the game is memorable and without doubt it is already one of our favorite soundtracks this year. Making the most use of the genre synthwave, is able to take us to the world where everything happens and also leaves behind some melodies that we remember for a long time as it sounds on the home screen that is very similar to the one that accompanies us in the parts from our apartment with nostalgia and nostalgia. The composers are more or less varied and we can see the name of them and their pieces, at the beginning of each level in what we believe is a clear recognition of the great work they have achieved.
The sound effects, without being very spectacular, reach their goal and ensure that the bullets that collide with our Katana are very real, to give an example, or to cut an enemy into pieces, also heard very well .
Katana Zero was a surprise for everyone, because he always remained low and amid the huge number of high-level pitches we have, he is able to form a niche and to stand up as one of the best games so far. year. Quizás su mayor problema viene and el sentido de la duración que no termina de ser exacta para obtención del desarrollo de toda la trama y que sin duda, se puede explotar más –al momento, Askiisoft ha dicho que gracias al éxito que han tenido quizás veamos más contenidos and el futuro–. Por lo demás, es un indispensable de este mes y quizás de este año ya que sin muchas pretensiones, demuestra que el corazón de un video juego está en lo que hay and sí mismo y nada más.
Es un logró técnico digno de aplausos y uno de sus defectos es salir al tiempo que esta industria apuesta por ambiciones desmedidas que nos entregan juegos cada vez más largos y detallados, por lo que muchos esperan que su gasto les varias horas de diversi horas de diversi horas de diversi horas de diversi horas de diversi horas de diversi horas de diversi horas de diversi horas de diversi horas de diversi horas de diversi horas de diversi horas de diversi horas de diversi horas de diversi horas de diversi horas de diversi horas de diversi horas de diversi. Katana Zero es rejugable si queremos ver las variaciones según lo que hagamos and los diálogos, pero quizás el tener que pasar todo un nivel completo sólo para ver cómo cambian algunas cosas, no sea para todos, lo que seguramente s a mercurado sé segment.