One of the best things to come out of this console generation has been downloadable games. Not DCL so much, though I don’t begrudge companies trying to soften the hit of skyrocketing development cost with some cheap extra revenue. But full downloadable titles are great. Not every game needs to be a blockbuster, that kind of thinking leads to skyrocketing development costs. Some games can just be short diversions, worth an afternoon or three of enjoyment and priced accordingly. That is exactly the sort of game Sakura Samurai is, and I like it.
Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword is basically Punch-Out! with a sword. It is not so much an action game as it is a rhythm game. Much like Punch Out, the player must watch the enemies movements and dodge or counter accordingly. With the exception of the bosses, though, the enemies have much less complex move sets, as does the player character. You can dash in any direction and swing your sword, but that’s about it. The advantage it has over Punch Out is that you face more enemies at once. Instead f just one opponent, there are as many a five squaring off with you.
It is simple, but it is fun. This is a game with personality. It is addicting, as you get into a rhythm dodging and slicing you won’t want to put it down. And I lasts, if what I assume is the last boss is the last boss, just about as long as its simple gameplay warrants. No padding to excuse its price, it last just long enough to fully explore its mechanics. This is the kind of title download services were made for. Short, sweet and fun.
And the best part, the best part of the 3DS’s downloads specifically, is that it is always on the system. The biggest drawback of portability of portable games has been the desire to have more than one game. It is often not convenient to carry extra game carts around. But downloaded games are always right there. I might just have Ocarina of Time in my cart slot, but I have a dozen games sitting on my system if I’m traveling and want a change. It is a perfect combination. Now that its here I can’t imagine ever giving it up.