STAFF REVIEW of Kyurinaga's Revenge (Xbox One)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016.
by Chad Goodmurphy

Kyurinaga's Revenge Box art If you’ve never heard of Kyurinaga’s Revenge before then you can rest assured that you’re not alone. A follow-up to 2015’s terribly received Yasai Ninja, it’s yet another broken, frustrating and wholly forgettable release from indie developer Recotechnology S.L. One that I can safely confirm, without a glimmer of doubt in my mind, will not be remembered six months from now, let alone a year or two down the road.

To preface this review, I must admit that I’ve never played Yasai Ninja. Although it was once on my radar, due to its unique cast of vegetable samurai, I missed it at launch and ended up deciding to avoid it altogether after reading impressions from both friends and peers. Now, after having spent time with its sequel – which is terribly disappointing in its own right – I’m glad that I made that decision.

An action/platformer with rhythmic elements, Kyurinaga’s Revenge is a co-op enabled trip through vegetable-filled Feudal Japan. It’s there where the titular evildoer has returned to his devious ways, following the conclusion of Yasai Ninja’s quest. Equipped with troubling new powers, he poses an even greater threat to the realm, and it’s up to Samurai Kaoru Tamanegi (whose design is based around Asian vegetables like buk choy) and his ally, a street fighter named Broccoli, to save the day.

I promise that I’m not making any of this up.

If you’re able to find a second person to play this game with (which might be tough, especially after they see it in action), it’s possible to work your way through the campaign in tandem. However, if you opt to go through it as a solo gamer, you’ll have the option to switch between the two heroes at any given time. This is a necessary aspect of Kyurinaga’s Revenge, because each character has his own special ability, and both are required for basic progression.

What’s surprising is that instead of going the stealth route like you’d expect, the rugged samurai is equipped with bombs that he can plant at will. Detonation is another skill entirely though, and you’ll need to switch to Broccoli (whose name is as bad as the game he inhabits) in order to throw darts at the bombs to trigger explosions. These darts also factor into puzzle solving and combat, and can be used to hit targets or cut ropes holding environmental objects such as logs.

The game’s three to four hour-long campaign brings forth a mixture of puzzle solving, combat and basic platforming. With limited lives, golden coins to collect, and a blue coin that can be touched to trigger a timed collection challenge, it’s a lot like Mario except not nearly polished and much, much more frustrating.

You won’t always be jumping onto platforms, avoiding spike traps, solving puzzles or pushing blocks, though. In fact, there are a couple of other gameplay tropes to be found in Kyurinaga’s Revenge, the first of which is combat.

When you think of combat in a game such as this, your mind will likely be drawn to basic sword slashing or jumping on enemies’ heads to dispatch of their livelihoods. Let it be known though that touching an enemy results in instant death, as Broccoli and his samurai pal are both as weak as can be.

There is some basic swordplay, which can be triggered using the X button, but it’s as dreadfully simple as you’d expect. You simply swipe your sword and dispatch the foe in front of you.

Outside of this though lies what the game calls combat: engagements in which you stand still and press highlighted button prompts in order to kill incoming enemies. At the end of the day, it’s very reminiscent of a rhythm game, especially when you factor in having to switch between the two characters, and the fact that the button prompts get more complex as the engagements go on.

Mentioned previously, the other notable gameplay facet found within this uninspired insomnia cure is boss battles. These also leave a lot to be desired, and can induce a lot of frustration as a result of cheap deaths and imprecise controls.

The first boss is a ginormous vegetable, who just happens to be standing in a large pit of lava. His attacks consist of the most basic giant enemy attacks there are, that being fist slams and hand swipes. However, instead of having to wait until the beast’s hands are vulnerable, you must attack him by making your way to fallen lanterns and pressing X. This triggers a boulder to fall, but leaves you vulnerable in the process, meaning that if you hit a lantern as the boss is about to attack, you’re likely to die. There’s no safety whatsoever, and that’s a glaring oversight in what is a shoddily developed game.

On the presentation side, things are as you’d expect. A drawn out camera is used to cover visuals that are lacking in both detail and variety, and a game world that resembles something from generations gone by. It’s dark, bland and utterly forgettable, and the same is true of both the music and sound effects it incorporates. Loading times are also rather long; almost to a point that compares with how long the wait between checkpoints is in game.

Alas, Kyurinaga’s Revenge is a downloadable affair that is far from being worth anyone’s limited free time or hard-earned money. It’s offensively boring, frustratingly clunky and an absolute chore to play through altogether. As much as I hate dropping 'bombs' on indie developers, I cannot recommend this turd to anyone.

Overall: 2.0 / 10
Gameplay: 2.0 / 10
Visuals: 3.5 / 10
Sound: 3.0 / 10


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