At first I wasn’t sure what I thought about Sakura Samuari. I felt like it might be too simple, possible even what developers fear their game being – boring. While the tutorial won’t be winning any awards for outstanding achievements in entertainment, give the game a little more time. Once you really get in the middle of things you won’t stop until everyone has fallen to your blade.
Sakura Samurai’s combat is all about timing. The goal is to dodge attack at the very last second before you take a spear to the face. Mastering the flow of combat is one of the best feelings you’ll get out of this game. Jumping out of the way right before you take a hit, dancing to the side of your enemy and landing two quick blows to his side rarely ceases to amuse. The flow of the swordplay can feel like a dance of death between to skilled combatants as you get the feel of exactly what you’re doing. The fights are short enough so that you can complete one and feel satisfied, but sometimes you’ll want to sit and do a marathon of them at once. It works extremely well on a portable console.
Combat may be the main draw to the game, but there is actually quite a bit more to enjoy here. Visiting towns is a nice break between all of the action you’ll be into. You can go to the local villages to shop around for items useful in combat and chat with the locals (and play their minigames!). There is even a rock garden that you can “dedicate” your steps that the 3DS counts and grow a little garden to look at. It doesn’t really do anything other than provide some nice scenery, but its still a nice little extra.
One of the biggest things I’ll end up taking away from Sakura Samurai is how well they shoe off the 3D effects of the system. They are amazing. AMAZING. I could almost recommend the game soley from some of the effects that you’ll see. I have so much time just staring at how deep the 3Ds’ screen looks when you’re on the world map. Turning the slider up and down shows you just exactly how well the effect works. It really looks like you’re staring back into miles of land and mountains. The biggest effect for me was during the first boss fight. After a speech he gives to you, he draws his sword and decides to hold his freaking sword out of the screen. I’ve never been as impressed with 3D as I was at that moment. I literally stared and trined to pinch the tiny sword with my fingers as it protruded out of my 3DS at my face. You have to see it to understand what I’m talking about, but it looks as impressive as some of the highest quality 3D I’ve seen in theaters. I’m not joking. Seriously.
Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword is more than worth the price of entry; you’ll get plenty for your money. The rhythmic combat and the 3D effects are shining examples of why you need to already own a 3DS. Developers are coming up with great ideas for things that you wouldn’t work as well anywhere else. Its simple enough to pick up for 5 minutes and have a good time, and addictive enough to sit down with it and play for nearly an hour. I’ve bought more games on the eShop this year than any other platform. Don’t miss out just because they aren’t very expensive. You’ll miss out on some of the best games of the year.
Image Source: gamespot.com