Developer Sokaikan Studios‘ latest offering, Okinawa Rush, is a beautiful and beguiling martial arts game that defines the styles of action platformers from years past. The premise follows an imperial army of ninjas, called the Mantis Clan, landing on the shores of Okinawa, an island atoll in the pacific.
Their goal is to conquer all the islands under their tyrannical rule by stealing a sacred training manuscript which contains a list of martial arts techniques that can grant whoever possesses it unlimited powers. As the opening cutscenes observe, the Mantis Clan will do what it takes to obtain the manuscript even if it means covering the land with the blood of their victims.
But as one can imagine, the manuscript is elusive to find, and out of frustration, the Clan kidnaps the island’s most precious commodity, the children and the villagers, for ransom. Facing an almost unstoppable force, three of the island’s most skilled warriors, Hiro, Meilin, and Shin, have vowed to stop the invaders, rescue the children, and bring peace back throughout the land.
The multitude of fighting moves, cleaver level design, and retro-inspired graphics demonstrates the complexity and growth many indie developers have shown in creating games that are both elaborate and addictive. In a genre that showcases big guns, big swords, and elaborate special effects, Okinawa Rush’s simple approach to combat is very appealing.
The game drops you immediately into the heart of the action, with well-placed cut scenes providing a much-needed breather between stages. Believe me when I say, that after a few rounds of non-stop finger pounding fighting, you’ll be ready for a quick break.
The game’s chaotic pace forces you to rely mostly on quick reflexes in order to survive the onslaught of enemies. One of the neat features the game has to offer is the multiple offensive moves that can be performed similarly to that of Streets Fighter. Pressing a combination of buttons and joystick movements unleashes devastating attacks that can take down a group of bad guys quickly, which is important, as you almost always find yourself surrounded with no viable way out.
Okinawa Rush’s vitality system supports the game’s theme of revenge. Instead of a health bar, it uses a modified rage meter which increases with each enemy you take out. When the meter reaches full capacity, you can fire off a series of moves that will clear the screen of enemies. Running and performing complex moves are easy to pull off, but some Jumps are problematic as it feels somewhat too sensitive, and missing certain ledges repeatedly, because of the twitchy controls, can oftentimes be annoying.
A game like Okinawa Rush demonstrates how the martial arts genre transcends action and violence and moves it closer to a well choreographed ballet routine the deeper you get into it.
Once you get the controls down, however, fighting becomes intuitive and second nature and you’ll be blazing through each level with competence. As it is with most side-scrolling action games, Okinawa Rush is violent but only incidentally and what matters is not the manner of death but the manner of how you execute it.
A game like Okinawa Rush demonstrates how the martial arts genre transcends action and violence and moves it closer to a well-choreographed ballet routine the deeper you get into it.
Okinawa’s multitude of fighting moves, intricate level design, and retro-inspired graphics demonstrates the complexity and growth many indie developers have shown in creating games that are both elaborate and addictive. In a genre that showcases big guns, big swords, and elaborate special effects, Okinawa Rush’s simple approach to combat is very appealing.
Aside from the jumping and other small gameplay quirks, Okinawa Rush packs a rather big punch and will keep players riveted in their seats from start to finish. After you finish the game, don’t be surprised if you feel tempted to break a few stone bricks with your bare hands. Step aside Jackie Chan; move over Jet Li, and go away Tony Jaa; there’s a new martial arts king in town and it’s causing, a literal rush.