Not every game has to be massive in order to be fun. The rise of free run survival games like Canabalt and Jetpack Joyride has proven that simple can work wonders when it comes to enjoyment. Samurai G attempts to capitalize on the same premise but ends up missing the mark due to a poor implementation.
On the surface, Samurai G sounds like a competent Canabalt clone, albeit one set in medieval Japan. The goal is to run as far as you can, avoiding hazards and collecting coins. Coins are used to activate "golden mode" where you are temporarily invincible, thereby making it easy to open a can of whoop-ass on the unfortunate targets of your fury.
Unfortunately, as soon as you start running, the problems set in. The biggest issue with Samurai G is hit detection. When a game is reliant on precision play, having spot-on controls is an absolute necessity. That's not the case here. Samurai G either suffers from a case of input lag or has woefully inaccurate hit boxes, as it often felt like the only way to avoid obstacles was to anticipate their appearance.
The poor hit detection is made worse by the color scheme used for your opponent's weapons. Samurai G looks good in screenshots, but in action, it can be difficult to see an opponent's silver shuriken against the backdrop. That's just one example. Successful free run games don't focus on "gotcha" moments because the fun is in trying to avoid the obstacles. If you know something's there and it still gets you, the death feels legit. If there's a sudden surprise that kills you, the death feels cheap.
In addition to the standard game, where "golden mode" activates automatically, there is also a more challenging advanced game that provides a more aggressive enemy layout and gives you the option to trigger "golden mode" manually. Well, at least that's what the game's electronic manual says. It's true that the advanced game is more challenging, but "golden mode" still triggers automatically, which removes any sense of strategy the game might have had. Extending "golden mode" by collecting more coins also didn't seem to work as advertised in the manual.
Aside from "golden mode," there is no use to the in-game coins. They don't carry over from run to run, and there is no store like in Jetpack Joyride.
Samurai G has some good ideas but ultimately fails to deliver. Even at the bargain price of $1.99, it's not really worth your time. There are much better games in the genre. Save your pennies for one of those instead.
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