Publisher: No Gravity Games
Genre(s): Platformer, Action, Adventure, Fighting
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on Steam)
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 28/10/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Much like Shadow Gangs, Okinawa Rush is an arcade-inspired action-platformer that showcases a ninja on a journey to save their family. This title stands out because of the varying and tough-to-master character capabilities. Is this ninja game a standout hit? Or does it blend into the background? Find out in this Rapid Review.
Unlike many action-platformers and arcade titles, Okinawa Rush features a developed story arc. The story did not leave me with a deeper understanding of the world, but it was very nicely put together. There were wonderfully designed cinematics throughout the game that enhanced my experience. I never wanted to skip through them, but if I wanted to, the option was there. The story is simple enough to overlook and still pleasing enough to enjoy. This balance works perfectly. Okinawa Rush was voice acted as well. The voice actors fit their roles nicely. I liked this addition too. The story is not meaningful enough to stand on its own, but there are a lovely collection of brief segues to enjoy.
Thankfully, Okinawa Rush contains a lot of intricate and technical combat options to keep players engaged. There are multiple playable characters, a plethora of moves to master, and an in-depth training system. These work in tandem to make the gameplay experience engaging and interactive. Moreover, the five levels are designed well. Still, only having five levels is a bit disappointing. Is the character depth worthwhile enough to compensate for the tiny level count?
As I mentioned previously, there are plenty of different characters and move sets to master in Okinawa Rush. Though there is only one primary attack button, the developers leverage this button fully. The attacks I used varied based on the inputs from my analogue stick. I found this method worked well. I was able to use a variety of attacks without worrying about memorizing countless button schemes.
There are also special attacks, triggered by holding down the attack button. These deduct health in exchange for a quick high-damaging attack that also reflects projectiles. I liked the implementation of these attacks, as I calculated the risk and reward of the option.
The available options are initially confusing. To remedy this, Okinawa Rush features a training mode and detailed instructions on how to perform every move. These features are excellent at helping players master the mechanics of the game. Unfortunately, they are hard to find. I was not prompted to begin the training when I began the title, nor was I taught much in the first couple of levels. I only learned basic manoeuvrability, not complex inputs.
Instead, to find these, I needed to enter story mode and move to the leftmost page. This was exceptionally confusing because unless I intend to backtrack, I never toggle the screen to the left. The character selection and training system are also hard to find, located left of the gameplay as well. I was unable to leverage these throughout my playthrough because I never came across the screen until I had completed the title. Thus, I was confused about many of the mechanics. I was able to intuit and teach myself most of the inputs Okinawa Rush had to offer, but a more centralized tutorial would have helped my experience.
Time To Get Zen
After finally discovering these useful tools, I was disappointed that I had not known about them sooner. There were detailed tutorials on each move, I was able to train by practising Kata, and I could change my character. I enjoyed the training and immediately noticed how it impacted the game. I would have been able to leverage this advantage much sooner had I known about it throughout the game. Regardless, I thought the training was a nice addition.
Another thing I liked about Okinawa Rush is the difficulty system. There are two modes to choose from. I could either select the Arcade Mode, or the Story Mode. The arcade mode is simple. There are not many options other than selecting the character you want to play as. Since there are limited continues, this mode may be challenging for new players. The story mode is the perfect place to begin. It features the training mode and the dojo to practice technique, and most importantly, had difficulty selection at the beginning of each level. This selection was expansive too. The difficulty could be calibrated to my taste perfectly. Plus, as I enhanced my abilities, I could revisit old levels with a new challenge.
Rinse and Repeat
I was further pushed to re-complete old levels with the scoring system. After playing each level, I was ranked based on my performance. The first few times I played the levels, I did extremely poorly. However, as I became more experienced, I started earning higher scores and chaining together waves of foes. The scoring system is easy to understand and increases the longevity of the game. There is also additional content to complete by playing the levels as every character.
Still, I felt as though the game was a bit short on content. There are five different levels and various ways to experience them, but in the end, there are still only five levels. Regardless of character or difficulty, it may seem tedious to continue replaying the same levels multiple times. The value of this game depends heavily on nature. If replaying levels and aiming for new high scores is enticing, there will be a plethora of content in Okinawa Rush. If playing the game one time will be sufficient, the game may be over too quickly. I like this title because I revisit games after they have been completed. However, it is certainly worth noting.
Waves of Foes
Even though there are only five levels, the levels are fun, and they are designed well. There are hordes of enemies to face so I faced hundred-to-one-odds and struggled to keep myself alive throughout. I found hidden collectables, broke boxes with health powerups and utilized newfound weapons. The levels were great to rush through.
The enemies also made each level meaningful. They had clear telegraphs, were distinct enough to remember and were abundant enough to keep me occupied. The bosses were particularly standout. They were the most challenging part of the game yet never felt overwhelming. I enjoyed getting destroyed by a boss on my first attempt and then slowly learning their tells. The enemies are well-designed.
Okinawa Rush provides a rewarding gameplay loop. Largely, the game functions excellently though it is important to note how brief the game is. Regardless, it was a good time, especially if score-chasing or testing the same levels on new difficulties sounds enjoyable.
The background surrounding Okinawa Rush was lovely too. All the sprite work was gorgeous, especially the cutscenes. The backgrounds were nice as well. Sometimes they even previewed future fights. The attention to detail was noticeable and very well done.
The music was also excellent. It had an identity of its own even though it took inspiration from other retro arcade titles. Simple sounds of enemies hitting the walls and exploding into chunks were gruesomely satisfying.
Okinawa Rush is an excellent title for those who love arcade platformers or those who are ready to sink their teeth into an intricate combat system. While the menus can be confusing and some options can be hidden, the largest downfall is the low number of stages. Still, Okinawa Rush proves to be an exciting, gruesome, and visually appealing action-platformer that is easy to recommend.
4 out of 5
You can purchase Okinawa Rush from the Nintendo eShop here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.