Ancient Japan is heavy with art, culture, and history but none of that will weigh you down when you’re out for vengeance. In the bloody tale of Samurai II: Vengeance, you play Daisuke, a masterless samurai, who searches for Orochi, his arch-enemy from the first installment of the game. The reason why is lost in time – unless you find and purchase the original game – but the only thing you really need to know is that Daisuke must kill everyone in his path in order to achieve his destiny.
The graphics pop off the screen. At a rocket sled-like 60 frames per second (say the app developers), the settings come alive with spinning windmills, swirling flags, and rocking boats, all while the intense sword fight action plays out under your control. The comic book-like colors and drawings add to the cool stylized look of the game.
But, it’s really all about the violence. Easy touch controls let you move will incredible dexterity, slashing among several enemies with rolls, lunges, and slicing attacks. Tap the right combo sequence and the game switches temporarily to slow motion as you decapitate an enemy or cut him in half. Blood spatters everywhere, including up on the screen itself – so it appears you’re watching through a stained window. Note: The violence level earns this game a 12+ rating in iTunes, a “not for children” label on the parent-friendly site CommonSenseMedia.org, and a tepid Medium Maturity rating here in the Android Market.
Is it fun? Yes, and the challenge increases accordingly with each new level. Can it get old? I think so, but perhaps not before your thumbs fall off from constant use.