By Steve Baltimore / August 5th, 2020
|Title||Katana Kami: A Way of the Samurai Story|
|Release Date||February 20, 2020|
|Platform||Switch, Steam, PS4|
Katana Kami: A Way of the Samurai Story is a spin off title of the well known Way of the Samurai series. The gameplay here is very different than what you might expect out of the series, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This title gives the series more of a mythical twist and isn’t as story driven as the mainline series is. Let’s dig into this adventure and see if it’s worth your coin.
The story here follows a broken down blacksmith named Dojima. His daughter is being taken because he owes some unsavory people a lot of money. You decide to help him pay off his debt, and in exchange he will have you wed his daughter. He provides you a place to stay and offers his services to keep your weapons in good shape. You venture out the first night you are there to find a mysterious glowing tree. This tree leads you to a nether world where hostile creatures rule the land. You begin to slay there creatures in order to find resources that will help Dojima pay off his debt. What sorts of dangers await as you delve into the depths of this dungeon? Only time will tell.
While the overall story here isn’t that deep that doesn’t mean it’s not interesting. There are three clans feuding in this land, and depending on how you play the game it will greatly affect the ending. Each clan will start to send Dojima orders to fill, and you help him out by exploring the dungeon at night. Depending on which orders you decide to complete or which of the random clan members wandering around during the day you choose to murder, you will earn favor with one side or the other. Just make sure you don’t go too crazy trying to drum up business or stress out poor Dojima too badly.
Dungeon exploration is your typical isometric affair. Katana Kami is very much a rogue-like at its core. Levels are generated randomly, there is plenty of loot to collect and when you leave the dungeon your level will reset back to one. However, your weapons will retain their level, so not all is lost. There are other weapons such as bows in the game, but you will mostly want to use the swords since they are the most effective. They come in different sizes, quality and stances. The stance will determine the move set of the sword. As weapons level up more moves are unlocked. They can also be enhanced by the blacksmith with materials and title books. Just be wary, these weapons can be broken if not repaired and death in a dungeon will cost you everything.
Katana Kami isn’t a graphically impressive title no matter which system you pick this up for. They’re not bad, but there’s just nothing really special about them. The dungeons all have the same type of look with a few colors and details altered here and there. Enemy models are decent, but there should have been more of them. You get a lot of recolored enemies, which I guess I should expect from a rogue-like. I just think with the mythical theme they went with they could’ve done some really awesome enemies. Hopefully if they give this spin off another shot they will add more in next time.
The audio department here is a mixed bag. The OST is pretty good and certainly fits the mood of the game with an amazing Eastern feel. There’s just not a lot of it to speak of, so you will hear the same tracks quite frequently. The sound effects is where Katana Kami stands out. The bang and clangs of battle are great. It’s also very satisfying to hear the blood spray and spatter of newly defeated opponents.
Katana Kami: A Way of the Samurai Story is a very middle of the road game. It is fun and it doesn’t overstay its welcome at around a 6 to 8 hour playtime, but it does have some issues. There should’ve been a greater variety of enemies, more music tracks and a little bit more story wouldn’t have hurt either. Even with these flaws the game still has some decent hack ‘n slash gameplay and multiple endings depending on how you played the game. Fans of the franchise and rogue-like fans will find something to love here at the retail price of $29.99 price tag. Since this isn’t an overly difficult rogue-like I would recommend it to fans wanting to check out the genre as well, but maybe at a sale price.
Game was provided by the publisher.
AcquireKATANA KAMI: A Way of the Samurai Storynintendo switchSpike Chunsoft