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Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.6

Samurai II: Vengeance
August 31, 2011 | Jon Carr

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Walking Death

Mac OS X: 10.6.6

The colorful artscape fills the background as a meditative, almost zenlike calm settles over you. Several samurai surround you, all intent upon your demise. A quick Flying Dragon strikes down two. An even quicker roll and counterstrike slices another straight in half. The final one pauses, no doubt gaping at the speed with which you have dispatched his friends. You're moving so fast you feel like time has slowed down. Feeling flashy, you remove his head with a flourish, watching it soar through the air.

This is Samurai II: Vengeance from MADFINGER Games, one of many recent iOS games to make its way to OS X. Not all games survive the transition, but fortunately this game fares well.

The story isn't particularly deep, but it's enough to keep you moving along. You are a lone samurai on a quest for vengeance, as per the game's title. A variety of bandits, samurai and demons are in your way, and it's your job to carve them all up into little bits with your sword.

The gameplay is simple but effective. You have a series of light or heavy attacks which can be combined into 6 different combinations. You start with only one, and must unlock the other combos with karma points gained through killing bad guys and oddly enough, busting open barrels. Each combination also has several successive levels to it that must be unlocked before you have the full move. All of them are fun and useful for various foes, although one you unlock towards the end pretty much makes every other move redundant because it's so effective and easy to perform. You can't block anything, but rather you have a very effective roll maneuver of which you'll make frequent use to dodge arrows and groups of foes.

Enemy AI isn't particularly bright, but there's enough variety to keep you on your toes. Color-coded samurai are your basic foes, but dual-wielding enemies add to the mix. You also have archers and mini-boss samurai, who are large and imposing and have special attacks to dodge. Each area has to be cleared before you can progress, and occasionally you need to traverse some spikes, swinging blades or other traps to move forward.

For an iOS title the graphics are actually rather good and boast a striking Asian art style. By going the cartoony route it manages to look good, even on a 27" iMac as there's no visible pixelation or blurriness. While not amazing, it's sufficient for the game and the many colorful backgrounds are enjoyable to see. Being an iOS port it won't strain your system, even an older one, so performance shouldn't really be an issue for anyone.

The music never changes much, but maintains a zen-like beat throughout. While at first it might seem at odds with the action, it manages to feel just right and blend with your onscreen swipes and rolls. It really grew on me as the game went on, almost like it was the inner mood of a samurai, navigating the flow of battle with calm and focus.

I always take iOS ports with a certain degree of expectation, or perhaps a lack of expectation. Having no previous experience with the game, or the original, I was pleasantly surprised with the graphics and gameplay. It's still a casual game, and a short game, but it's a fun one and worth your time if you're looking for a light title with a quick story and some katana fueled action. For under $10 It won't test your skills much, but it will provide you with several hours of fun.

• Fun swordplay
• Colorful visuals
• Zenlike soundtrack

• Can get repetitive
• Not very challenging

Jon Carr is an IMG writer who also hosts the podcast and enjoys conducting interviews, previews and writing all the features he can think of. When not reviewing games or scheming world domination, he's probably playing a new game in Bootcamp or keeping up on all the latest game and tech news. He builds websites for a living but spends all the time he can furthering the Mac community.

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