Another great Twitter DM’d question (btw guys you can just tweet at me publicly, it really isn’t that hard): what developer/publisher would you blindly play a game of regardless of any premise, review, or public opinion?
Sheesh. I mean what a fucking banger of a question. Let’s run down the list shall we? Definitely not picking any of the big boys like EA, Bethesda, Ubisoft, or Square Enix. Just too much inconsistency. Also have to pass on Activision Blizzard; I trust that Blizzard just makes incredible games, but Activision has fucked up CoD too many times. Also, I’m gonna pass on Rockstar Games. I’ll always play GTA and Red Dead, but outside of those two franchises most of their games stink. My kneejerk reaction is Rocksteady Studios (Batman: Arkham series). They took one of the best superheros of all time, who’d already been featured in countless games, and made three incredibly different titles. They have a spotless track record as well (outside of PC Arkham Knight). On the other hand, you have a studio like Naughty Dog, who’s been around for a very long time and has both classic (Crash Bandicoot and Jax & Daxter) and modern franchises (Uncharted and The Last of Us). In fact, I actually think I’d have to go with Naughty Dog. I want to see what Rocksteady does with this new game they’re working on. If it isn’t a Batman game, and it’s still fucking incredible, then I’ll reconsider.
Back to the main topic of this blog, my #1 indie of 2019 so far:
Numbuh 1: Katana Zero
I knew as soon as I saw this game on February’s “Nindie” showcase that it was right up my alley. Katana Zero is a 2D neo-noir platformer set in the fictional city of New Mecca, where you play as a katana-wielding assassin nicknamed The Dragon. Dragonboy lives in a rundown apartment complex, and wakes up at night to do drugs and kill people. Sounds just like my Uncle Howard, except without the apartment complex and killing people. He just does drugs and shits in the street. But the drugs that Dragonboy does allow him to slow time and see the future (where is he gets killed in a room, he can restart at the beginning of the room). Also, his katana is so powerful that it reflects bullets and kills everything in one hit except the occasional boss.
Everything in this game is fluid and engaging. The combat puzzles are each unique; you never run into the same scenario twice and they’re challenging but fair. The neon setting and soundtrack do a great job supporting both the story and the gameplay. The game isn’t very long at all, clocking in at around 7 hours for most players, but I felt engaged the entire time. Heck, if I was gaming was my full time career I wouldn’t have ever put it down. I will admit I found the story rather confusing, even at the end. And believe me, I watch some weird shit and somehow understand it. Both Midsommar and Us have kind of confusing underlying themes and I caught onto them rather quickly. Katana Zero however, still leaves me scratching my head, thinking there will either be some DLC coming out or a sequel. Either way, I will gladly consume more of this type of content.
Katana Zero is available on Switch and PC. I guarantee you won’t be wasting your time.