Katana ZERO from Devolver Digital and Askiisoft is a new 2D action game on Nintendo Switch with some interesting twists. Learn more about it in our Katana ZERO review!
As for the game’s controls, you can run around with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, and can slow down and walk by pressing the X button. Your character can jump with the B button and slash with your Katana by pressing the Y button – this slash can be used to send bullets flying back to your enemies. You can also pick up and throw things with the A button. You also have a dodge roll at your disposal with the R or ZR buttons, a move that makes you invulnerable to damage, as well as a very handy slow-mo ability mapped to the L or ZL buttons.
Every section you play will be recorded, allowing you to review your performance after clearing the area. The basic goal for all of this remains the same: kill everyone in your way and try to stay alive. The first one is relatively easy to do since one slash from your katana and enemies will start to bleed all over, and you can also grab an item and send it flying towards them to kill them good. The second objective is… a bit harder to complete. One hit is all it takes to kill your character, so you will need to pay attention to a section’s layout, the enemy types around and how many there are, if there are any extra hazards and/or switches that can deactivate/activate them, so that you can use your skills and abilities to speedrun through each area.
After completing a mission, you will get to go back to your apartment, drink some herbal tea, listen to the news on TV, and go to sleep. Unfortunately, all that murdering people thing means that you have a lot of issues to deal with, so you might end up having a nightmare or two. You will luckily get a chance of receiving some therapy between assignments, that is if you feel a bit cooperative. You can either avoid all questions and demand to receive your meds, or you can sort things out and answer truthfully and talk about the nightmares you’re having. Once the session is over, you will get your medicine, as well as a dossier on the target for your next mission. After reading the dossier, you will need to destroy it, so be sure to pay attention to any relevant information it may contain.
Later missions will start to mix things up, presenting you with stealth sections along with the more murdery action sequences. It is thanks to the stealth elements that the game feels like an overall better experience when compared to other 2D action platformers, since you’ll be dealing with dozens of deadly killers in each stage, each just as deadly as the others, and being able to sneak around, hiding – sometimes in plain sight – to then deal the killing blow, is a great feeling. Once automatic turrets are introduced, you will have died enough times to learn how slowing down time, dodge rolling and immediately slashing your way through is a strong combo.
Katana ZERO is a fun indie game that is easy to recommend on Nintendo Switch. It’s tight gameplay mechanics make for an entertaining experience, and the twists and turns in its story – particularly during the last third of the game – will keep you engaged from start to finish. I’m not going to spoil things here, but the way the overall arc develops is very interesting, presented in a rather bizarre manner.
This Katana ZERO review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Devolver Digital.