After years of content drought, Samurai Jack fans have had a fair amount of new content lately. Aside from a new season of the show, there’s a new video game called Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time. Does it do the cartoon justice though?
Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time is an action-adventure game developed with the help of the show’s creator, Genndy Tartakovsky. It also features the original voice actors and the series’ lead writer, Darrick Bachman. Plus, the art direction and gameplay do a fairly good job of channeling the show.
However, Battle Through Time feels somewhat generic in the gameplay department. At times it plays more like a hack and slash than action-adventure and also has platforming elements, but it doesn’t particularly excel at any of them. Instead, it does them all competently.
A throwback to the early 2000s
To be honest, the game feels a bit like a throwback to the PlayStation 2 era, which I guess is appropriate since that’s when the show first came out. There are lots of items to collect from boxes, chests, and fallen enemies. In fact, You can find yourself busting boxes just about as much as you find yourself in combat.
And the searching and looting can be worth the effort, even if it can prove to be quite tedious. Some items restore health. Others reduce damage or upgrade skills. The game is fairly challenging, so these items can prove crucial in saving your life.
Speaking of health, Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time has a health bar. It doesn’t automatically restore, so you’ll have to use items that you collect or buy from vendors to heal yourself. There are also healing locations scattered throughout each level.
Battle Through Time follows a mostly linear path. Unfortunately, the game constrains your ability to explore quite a bit with invisible walls. It would have been nice to at least have a slightly more open world. There are some hidden chests and things, but it’s just not very open at all.
Weapons and upgrades
In terms of acquiring new skills and upgrading existing ones, there’s a skill tree with three different branches. You can upgrade physical, spiritual, and combat skills. These will upgrade things like health and unlock new abilities like double jump and various combos.
Weapons like the magic sword can’t break. You can get spears, hammers, and clubs, but they eventually need repaired. Ranged secondary weapons include thrown weapons like shurikens, bow and arrows, and guns. Sometimes characters will give them to you or you can buy them.
I mostly enjoyed my time playing Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time. It’s a fairly challenging game, although it does feel a bit generic. I’d also ding it for being overly linear, although it’s possible that the developers were going for a PS2-era gameplay style to match the original show.
Game Freaks 365 received a free review copy.