First off, Samurai Warrior has nothing to do with Koei/Temco’s Samurai Warriors game series. Samurai Warrior is a game where you play a samurai warrior who walks around killing enemies in surprisingly pretty environments, flipping switches, and avoiding traps. I thought this two-dollar game would be completely inept. It is not. But I wouldn’t call it a must-play either. It’s there and functional. The main problem is the lack of any noticeable progression of your character. The enemies get harder to kill and more varied, but this guy does not get more powerful to compensate. He is the same character in all seven chapters. But let’s back up.
Controls are simple in Samurai Warrior. You have two attacks, attack 1 and attack 2. I honestly can’t tell the difference between them. There is a dash button and an interact button. You walk along a set path and will come to areas you get locked in, and you have to defeat waves of enemies to proceed. Sometimes, there is a switch to flip to open a gate. Plus, starting from chapter 2, there are traps to avoid. And at the end of each level, there is a boss battle. Then you move on.
Work has gone into Samurai Warrior. The graphics are crisp and pristine, with even neat gore effects and little touches here and there. The gameplay, while simplistic, works well enough. Combat is not broken, even if it amounts to mashing the attack buttons. But as I said at the start, there’s no real sense of progression here. Things get much harder as enemies get more HP, but your repertoire of tools does not change. There also is no real story in the game, at least none shown. Yes, it’s an old-school design, and I get that, but I just feel that it lets the game down here. It leaves it feeling flat in the end.
In the end, I’m just torn. I want to like Samurai Warrior but just can’t. It is as if it’s not better than the sum of its parts. The game feels flat. The chapters roll by and I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. I’ll give it a YMMV instead of a Not Recommended because you might enjoy the old school design more than I did.
Overall: Each part of Samurai Warrior works well enough, but it just does not congeal into an engaging whole.