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Samurai Riot Review

Official Score

Overall - 30%


Samurai Riot has a number of novel ideas, but the repetitive levels and wonky engine undo any good will. Those who are looking for the next coming of the beat-em-up will likely be disappointed with this title.

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The beat-em-up is a dying breed in this day and age, but Wako Factory’s Samurai Riot tries its hand at reviving the genre. Unfortunately, this belt scroller unfortunately fails to live up to the greats.

Samurai Riot Review

Have you ever played one of the hundreds of beat-em-ups from the 90s? If so (and who hasn’t), you’ll know what to expect here. Players can either take control of the samurai Tsurumaru or the ninja Sukane and her trusty fox as they fight their way through throngs of enemies to the end of each stage. Each character has both a light and power attack, and grabs are available for both. It’s nothing too out of the ordinary, for better or worse.

However, these two characters play vastly differently from one another. Tsurumaru, put simply, is a dud. His moveset relies more on heavy slashes of his sword, blocking, and grenades, which makes him feel more like a tank. However, the engine present here simply wasn’t built for that type of playstyle. When six enemies with different attacks crowd around him, he is at a distinct disadvantage, and the combo system will often stun enemies, rather than knock them back. This dissonance makes the fighting feel clunky, rather than fluid.

Sukane, on the other hand, fares a lot better. She packs a dodge instead of a guard, and her fists make for much faster combos. Players can also use her fox to entangle enemies, leading to more combos. The juggling engine is still broken, and things like grabs don’t work as well as the ones found in Streets of Rage or Final Fight, but it’s a noticeable improvement.

If anything, it feels like everything was kind of phoned in. Both characters have a diverse moveset that varies based on holding buttons, button combinations, and directions, but it’s all wasted on countless versions of the same enemies. The same tactics can be used for most of the game, leaving more than half of the movelist unused. The game also has a nasty habit of recycling enemies and even bosses; expect to see the same girl with tonfas and guy with a staff for most of the game. With levels going for more than 15 minutes at a time, fatigue and repetition can often set in.

Samurai Riot - Gamers Heroes

Despite there being enemy fatigue and no major variables in each of the levels, there is a story to be found in Samurai Riot. Told via brief conversations, players can fight against the rebellion and learn what true loyalty is about. However, there is a twist; in certain areas, players can make key decisions and either defect or kill their enemies. Though it changes the ending, everybody will play through the same set of levels, and only the hardest of the hardcore will want to see the eight different endings the game has to offer.

The game may have these different endings, but there is not a lot of replayability. There is no online co-op mode, only local, and there are no training options to speak of. Players can buy different things that can adjust their health, strength, agility, and fury, but the changes are not too major. The game also has a habit of freezing in certain menus, but your mileage may vary.

Samurai Riot has a number of novel ideas, but the repetitive levels and wonky engine undo any good will. Those who are looking for the next coming of the beat-em-up will likely be disappointed with this title.


This review of Samurai Riot was written based on the Steam version of the game. A digital code was provided by the publisher.

Casey Scheld

Casey Scheld has more than 15 years of experience in the gaming industry as a community manager, social media director, event specialist, and (of course) gaming editor. He has previously worked with gaming start-ups like Raptr, publishers like Konami, and roller derby girls at PAX West (check out Jam City Rollergirls)! Gamers Heroes is a passion project for him, giving him a chance to tap into the underground side of gaming. He is all too eager to give these lesser-known heroes of the indie space the attention they so rightly deserve, seeking out the next gem and sharing it with the world. Previously making appearances at events like CES, GDC, and (the late) E3, he is all too happy to seek out the next big thing. For those that want to talk shop, send over a tip, or get an easy win in a fighting game of their choosing, be sure to check out his social media channels below.

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