Samurai Gunn review

Samurai were never this fast, surely. Teknopants’ fourplayer singlescreen brawler licks along at a frightening pace, a combination of lightning-fast character movement and one-hit kills meaning its matches rarely last more than a minute.

It’s deceptively simple. Each player picks a cluster of pixels whose colours are plucked straight from Street Fighter and the action begins. Whoever you choose has a Meat Boy-style wall jump; a sword with sideways, downward and upward slashes; and that titular gun, which affords you just three bullets per life. When two swords meet, they cancel out, the force pushing both players back across the screen. You can even reflect bullets with perfectly timed slashes.

There’s more to the maps than meets the eye, too, with Pac-Man-style portals in the scenery letting you pop out behind an opponent or shoot them in the back from across the screen. Environmental hazards include destructible bamboo and icicles to knock from ceilings, while water renders guns useless. Our current favourite map is Pull, whose two joined platforms edge further apart every couple of kills until the gap is too wide for even your enormous jump arc.

It’s a masterclass of design purity: every one of these elements exists for a reason, and its potential is exploited to the fullest. But Samurai Gunn’s genius lies in its dizzying speed. It condenses organic, balletic setpieces worthy of an action flick finale into mere seconds, the ground filling up with the bloodied pixel remains of the fallen.

Samurai Gun is out now on PC.

8
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