Preview: Katana ZERO

Do you like ninjas? I like ninjas. I mean, they were pretty nasty people in real life, and generally seen as highly dishonourable in Japanese society, samurais who had sunk to the lowest rung. But yeah, let’s forget all that, what’s not to love about kickass warriors with cool swords?

Katana ZERO from Askiisoft sees you as a sort-of modern-day ninja, tasked with busting into places and assassinating various n’er-do-wells at the behest of your shadowy paymasters. And most importantly, looking really cool while doing it.

Most baddies can be downed with one swipe of your sword, but they can also take you out in one hit, so each level is a case of scoping out the room and planning the most efficient route of attack. But then you start coming up against bad guys with guns, and things get a little complicated. Luckily, however, you can slow down time with the flick of a button and DEFLECT BULLETS BACK AT YOUR FOES. Which, needless to say, is incredibly satisfying indeed.

The game essentially plays like a series of action puzzles, with you working out the best order to confront the different baddy types – and how to utilise the environment by lobbing the lamps and handy cleavers lying around. But beyond that, there’s an intriguing plot surrounding your mysterious past and a shady drug, which goes to some unexpected places. And it’s funny, too – some of the bad guy dialogue is highly amusing.

With its beautiful pixel art and stylish animation, Katana ZERO is definitely one to look out for when it’s released in March. And intriguingly it’s not the only slow-motion assassinate-’em-up coming from publisher Devolver Digital this year – the excellent looking My Friend Pedro follows a similar premise. It seems assassin fans will be well catered for in 2019.

Preview code for Katana ZERO was provided by Devolver Digital. It will be released on March for PC and Mac. You can wishlist it now on Steam.

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