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    dkirschner's Katana Zero (PC)

    [December 6, 2020 10:49:50 AM]
    Done. Game isn't all that long (though the difficulty will give more length--game is HARD--and it's easily replayable). Ends on a serious incomplete note, which was disappointing. " be continued."

    Katana Zero is kind of like a 2D Hotline Miami mixed with some Mark of the Ninja (one-off stealth sections that I wish had been used more often). Combat is crazy fast and deadly. If you get hit, you die, period. You have to be perfect and there is no room for error. You can slow down time, you can swing your katana, you can dodge roll (to avoid damage), and you can pick up items and throw them. A couple items have some slightly different uses (e.g., dynamite). There are occasional laser traps and some drones (again, only used a couple times) that you can also use to your advantage.

    Let me come back to the difficulty, specifically the boss fights. These aren't long (usually you only need to hit the boss like four times, but you must be perfect to do so). The last one I am sure I retried 75 times. This is the kind of game where every time you die, you learn something and can immediately implement new knowledge or refine timing. So the last boss will begin with one of three moves. Through dying over and over, you eventually realize this and learn how to avoid each one. She'll shoot a targeting laser, the laser disappears for a beat, then she fires a bigger laser. This is really about timing, learning not to dodge during the targeting laser, learning how long the beat is (dodge now!), and timing that dodge to avoid the giant laser. The second move she'll do at the outset is to toss remote explosives. These are easy to avoid. Dodge roll when she throws them. The third move is a fast forward dash, indicated by a red line around her. This is so fast it's hard to react, but dodge your best as soon as you see that. So, to even get past the very beginning, you have to be prepared for any of these three moves. The laser is the most difficult and most frequent, so the others, even though they are easier, will catch you off guard because you're really tense waiting for that laser.

    When you dodge her first attack, your life only gets more difficult because she might do any of them again, or a couple others that you need to learn. You need to hit her. When you hit her, she disappears and two turrets emerge from the left wall. Destroy them before they begin firing because they will kill you 100% of the time. She re-emerges and does an easy-to-read laser pattern that you need to dodge. Hit her again when she drops to the ground. After the second hit, she tricks you! She teleports to the right side of the screen and shoots a targeting laser. You think she's going into a full laser animation, but she actually teleports away and does a mid-air spin-and-shoot move that you need to dodge ALONG WITH the laser. You can avoid the laser by running all the way to the right and essentially standing where she was. The laser won't hit you. You just have to avoid her spin-and-shoot move. If you hit her again, she drops some dynamite. Your last challenge is to get to it, pick it up, and throw it at her. Win. And this was actually the second phase of the fight against her. The first phase was a lot of memorization, also challenging.

    I felt like a twitchy god after beating some of the levels and bosses in this game. It's the kind of feeling that when you die the first time, you're like, "There is no way. This is too fast, too hard." Then you get a little better and a little better. The game excels at instilling this feeling.

    The story is cool too. It's dark and humorous (RIP Strong Terry) and sweet (the neighbor girl). It's told very unconventionally, back and forth through time, through nightmares, through drug trips. Once it twists on you the first time, it takes a little while to figure out what's going on, but it will clear up. I always like when these twisty turny stories are able to be figured out instead of just remaining dense and confusing.

    I might buy this on Steam when it goes on sale just to own it. I liked it that much. Also there is bound to be a sequel, so it might be worth replaying later.

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    dkirschner's Katana Zero (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Thursday 3 December, 2020

    GameLog closed on: Friday 4 December, 2020

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Hotline Miami vibes. Stylish. --------- Brutally difficult. Cool story. Really fun.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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