I was blown away by the art. The shadowy style of everything translated beautifully through this flash game. With each swipe of the sword drawing patterns through our foes and enemies turned the combat mechanics into art as our hero wades through the stream of demons. With a balance of anime themes and dark shading, nothing was overblown visually.
Though the dialogue was anime cheese, such is it's destiny.
The clouds between pillars of stones gave us the illusion of height. The shadows of the caves disrupted by beams of light blended with the atmosphere. The gears and machinery throughout even gave it a dash of steampunk. I absolutely love this game's style.
I even love our character's fighting style...and I kept finding myself waiting for the enemy to get up, like a patient samurai badass would. While the double swipe "S" specials worked well when surrounded. it excelled when used in patterns as your chaining combos off of our Firebat friends. The mighty "D" swipe proved to dispatch those Zerg Lurkers efficiently in succession...in fact, in hard mode, there's a moment where we have to kill two Zerg Lurkers who are right next to each other, constantly streaming a volley of underground spines.
Landing in between the two closest spines, one could jump up and do a downward "D" swipe over and over again until dead...My health was low after fighting the variable army moments before it, so I felt this cheap loophole was justified (But to YOU, the Author, I'm informing you of this in case you decide to make this harder in sequels)
Really, though, our hero is amazing. Combining the powerful "D" or the complex "S" specials in the middle of a combo wreaks impressive havoc on any number of enemies we'll encounter. But by far the most stimulating gameplay was the boss himself, Vandheer Lorde.
It took me off guard when I realized in easy mode we were controlling the boss instead of the samurai rebel...but this is actually, pardon my french, FUCKING. BRILLIANT.
Why? Not only does this give us an empowering and satisfying finale to the difficulty we're playing on (because we know for a fact the Rebel Samurai is no pushover), but it's literally a guide of knowing exactly what Vandheer is capable of...well, at least a rough IDEA of what he's capable of; I had no clue that his flurry of teleports that ended with a pose was an attack and not just evasive maneuvers...I only found out in hard mode that the pose he strikes at the very end from teleporting all over the place sends our guy SOARING through the sky. What a clever bastard.
But in all actuality, it's also brilliant because the whole game looks and sounds awesome, the gameplay is fun and stylistic, and after seeing first hand the ending that happens when the bad guy wins, it IMMEDIATELY makes us want to play hard mode in search for an alternate ending.
This is where I would have deducted a point in the score of my review, if only this game just wasn't so damn pleasing: there doesn't seem to be an alternate ending for beating it on hard mode. I don't know is this is a glitch or what, but after the eighth or ninth time fighting Vandheer, I finally beat him. I had a SLIVER of health, but I managed to get him all the way down, and received the exact same ending as it was an easy. So there's nothing we do can prevent the bad guy from winning? Granted, our hero goes out honorably with a good death, but...BUT....
...I cannot express how much I want a continuation of this.
Even if you take a page from other NG greats in the game-making community, there needs to be a huge version of this for Xbox Arcade or Playstation Network. People would buy the HELL out of this...especially if there were:
-More enemies than just our basic grunt, firebat, and Zerg thing
-More of journey
-More capabilities as time progressed.
The art, the environment, style, sound, the gameplay, the CHALLENGE...IT'S SO Refreshing. Definitely one of the Top 50 Best Flash Games I've played on NG in a long time. Though I beat it in one sitting, it was a wild, wild ride. Thank you. Fived and Faved!