Fuck the intro! Fuck the development discussion! Fuck all the jokes I had written for this article! Fuck all of it! Let’s talk about mother fucking Katana Zero!
Okay, so in all seriousness, before I get way too hyped, let’s actually discuss what Katana Zero is about. You play as a katana wielding samurai wannabe named Zero who works for a mysterious organization and does assassinations. Your goal is the ultimate destruction of a fictional drug by the name of Chronos, which is highly addictive, so addictive that anyone who uses Chronos will die from withdrawal, but it grants the user the ability to see into the future and live out their mistakes and successes before they are actually put forth. Throughout the game, you learn the truth of the organization, Chronos and it’s creation, and just who the mysterious group is that is going against you… And it’s fucking awesome! Surprising absolutely no one, this game was published by Devolver Digital, who also published Hotline Miami. This game is considered 2D Hotline Miami, and while I can see it with the extreme violence and old school aesthetic, the two are different in their own ways. Hotline Miami is far darker in its story and is brutally difficult, whereas Katana Zero, while having a dark story, has some humor, both dark and tongue in cheek, to make it kind of a meme at times, and the ability to freeze times makes it far more forgiving than Hotline Miami. Katana Zero has its own unique gameplay. You have to kill everyone in the room to move on, and with only a sword, you must wall jump, sneak your way, and kill everyone in the room. Your sword is capable of deflecting bullets, and you can dodge passed enemies and lasers to get where you’re going, but the real kicker is the Chronos, which lets you slow down time to a crawl. Enemies are at a loss as you move behind them and strike them down, and you can deflect and dodge bullets with ease. But here’s the kicker. You don’t need the Chronos. It helps, yes, but if you master the game’s mechanics, know what to expect, and learn all the enemies attacks, you can become so good at the game that you don’t need to freeze time. There’s no real reward, as far as I know, but it just makes you feel like a god when you can pull it off without the ability. The game doesn’t give you rewards, just the satisfaction, and that satisfaction made me want to master the combat of the game. When I beat indie games like Cuphead or Hollow Knight, I felt satisfied with just aht, but with Katana Zero, I wanted to get better at the game, I wanted to know the ins and outs, just because I would feel satisfied.
But Katana Zero is more than just fun combot, the story and characters are all really interesting. You got The Doctor, who will be your friend, as long as you do everything he says. Fuck up once and he’ll become your worst nightmare. And in one example… well… you’ll just have to play the game to find out about that. There’s V, a crazy Russian who is such a fanboy of Zero’s work and is only interested in doing as good as Zero by killing as many people as he can. And then you get the mysterious characters like the samurai Snow, her mysterious partner, the two ungodly apparitions named Comedy and Tragedy, and a little girl who you never learn the name of. Also plenty of meme worthy characters like Electrohead and Strong Terry. And what makes these characters so interesting is the options you have to say to them. You get a choice of words to say to the characters, and aside from a few moments, they don’t change the story that much, but you can get the satisfaction of either humoring them or just pissing them off when they deserve it. The options just add a nice touch to the world that is Katana Zero.
Oh, and if you thought the game was all action, no. Well, it is, but you also gotta think smart with your Chronos to solve puzzles. Puzzles like being strapped in a chair and forced to live your death over and over again until you piss off the guy that is holding Zero down. The creative way the game uses Chronos feels like so much attention was put into this game and it makes it feel more special to play. And then there are the secret weapons you unlock for trying things differently. To get one, you gotta kill your target before he kills himself. To get another, let a secret thief finish his business right when you are about to run out of time and take what he’s got. Each new weapon you get is really fun to use and feels like it was worth the effort. God, this game is just so perfect.
I only have one complaint for this game. One single complaint. It’s too damn short! I was really getting into this game and before you know it, it’s over in about four hours. And I did everything, I got all the unlocks, completed all the levels without Chronos, and did the secret stuff, in the name of Pinkachu post season 17, and even still, I wanted more. I hear that there is DLC being released soon and that the game is due for a sequel, which I really hope for. Play Katana Zero. Fuck anything else I talk about on here. Play Katana Zero. It’s fucking great and you should play it right now! Whatever game you planned on buying, FUCK THAT GAME! Buy Katana Zero!
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