Game Review: Samurai Beatdown (PlayStation Mobile)

While rhythm games have been around for decades, the ones that really set the gaming world alight were the Dancing Stage, Guitar Hero and Rock Band series. While some managed to capture the fun gameplay without the need for dedicated controllers, it’s the devices that really made them fun and – with multiplayer modes – a real social experience.

So it’s strange than something like this has made the transition to the PlayStation Mobile platform. While the touch screen would seem like a natural control method for this type of game and is really an extension of the original dance mat concept, for a frantic dance game no matter how good the screen is, it will never be as fast and responsive as any dedicated music game controller. So Samurai Beatdown takes a different approach and simplified that game somewhat to work with the mobile format…

Unlike a straightforward music game, Samurai Beatdown takes on the form of a side-scrolling beat-em-up. You’re under attack from all directions by all manner of warriors and flying creatures and you’re armed with little more than your trusty sword. Pay close attention to the music and tap the screen in time as your adversaries get close – anywhere on the right side to attack to the right and anywhere on the left side of the screen to attack to to the left and make it to the end of each of the five stages. Each time you land a successful hit, a meter starts to build up depending on how well you time your attack and once that meter is filled you can enter a temporary frenzy mode to leash an even greater fury on your enemies.

And here’s the problem… the game is incredibly dull and repetitive. Although the challenge of the game is really a case of getting the timing just right to match with the music and the on-screen signal (there is a slight aura around your enemies when you can strike), the gameplay really just revolves around pressing the screen in one of two places ad infinitum. With just five levels and one piece of music for each, it soon becomes monotonous. While the graphics are well drawn and animated and the backgrounds are bright and detailed and there’s ample variety between levels, there’s no getting away from the fact that the game is just dull.

Prior to it’s release, the developer promised back in August that the game will be continually developed and expanded but as it stands despite the low price it’s something I just can’t recommend, even to fans of the rhythm game genre as there’s just not enough involving gameplay or long-term appeal once you’ve played through the game. Even the lure of beating your high score just isn’t there. Sorry, but this is sadly one to avoid.

Simon Plumbe

At A Glance

  • Title: Samurai Beatdown
  • Publisher: Beatnik Games
  • System: PlayStation Mobile
  • Format: PSN Download
  • Cross Buy: No
  • Online Multiplayer: No
  • Memory Card Space Needed: 68Mb

Vita Player Rating - 03

Official developer website: http://www.beatnikgames.com

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