Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time... Reviewed!

Before I dive into this review, I definitely have to give a shout out to the dev team for supplying a copy of the game for this review.

I have not played a videogame based on a movie, or a cartoon in a long... long... long time, so it's good to experience one that was a sheer joy to play (for the most part).

Story: The emperor's son... is back to take down the evil Aku! In Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time, you're brought up to speed where Jack is down for the count... compliments of his own girlfriend. Ashi's hands were tied by her father, Aku (the father-in-law you'd never want)... as he used her as a puppet against Jack.

Jack's love for Ashi, caused Aku to lose control and the Marty McFly of samurai was saved... which revealed that Ashi has inherited Aku's powers, including the ability to travel through time. The couple was able to escape through time... but Aku wasn't going to let things go that smoothly, as he sent a laser beam flying through the couple's little escape hatch. Instead of destroying them, Jack blocks the laser beam and was knocked back in time... or so it seemed. That's where your adventure begins.

Visuals: You know when the game is about to begin because you're introduced to the in-game version of Jack, which looks like a 3D version of the... 2D version. Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time, maintains the toon-ish look... but in a way that allows you to appreciate the cel-shaded art style. It looks like you're playing through the cartoon (for the most part).

The animations in the game make it even better because you aren't just making your way through a painful gameplay experience in order to reach the cutscenes, the in-game character animations are smooth.

Gameplay: Yes, the game has a toon-ish look... but don't underestimate the gameplay (we're still talking about Samurai Jack here). The game plays just as good as it looks, and if you look at the animations of Jack... the slashes and strikes are quite accurate.

Once you get a feel for Jack's movement and the weapons, you're able to become a more efficient fighter... there is no awkward movement getting in the way. You may be able to find success mindlessly pressing the attack buttons, but... there will be times where you have to utilize some form of strategy to succeed and... obtain the best score possible. By the way, the control scheme for the Keyboard + Mouse is solid... I was able to play the game without bailing out of frustration so that I could come back with the nearest controller.

Scores are based on the time you complete a level, the number of enemies defeated, whether or not you used items, and the number of times you continued.  

So there is replay value available in addition to depth... based on the skill tree, weapons + ranged weapons, items (which include prayer beads and their ability enhancements), jewelry, and more.

The skill tree has three different aspects: 
Spiritual Skills + Combat Skills + Physical Skills

Enemies are as tough as you want them to be, although they won't be a walk in the park (mainly the bosses) if you aren't playing on the easiest setting (that's a good thing). I recommend a higher difficulty setting for the warriors in the room. The beetle drones are the basic enemies, which can deliver a decent challenge, and it goes up from there... especially the boss fights.

I really like the way Samurai Jack loses clothing when his health gets low to represent that they were ripped in battle. When you're health is replenished, his clothing reappears.

Tip: Don't go full-on Rambo with your ranged weapon... because they can be depleted (until you get more) and that doesn't work when you need the ammo the most.

I would say save the ranged weapons for boss battles, but there were actually situations where it was needed most for targets firing at me from a distance.

One thing I didn't like (at times)... was the camera angle in side-scrolling areas. It went from 360 to a side view which would've been fine if you didn't have to deal with certain enemies that required you to face them and use a ranged weapon. I tried to attack enemies the way it was set up, but... it was a pain.

Another tip: During these situations, go back to the extent that gives you control of the camera and use your ranged weapon (if you have one) in order to take out these enemies so that they don't shoot you down when you're most... vulnerable.

Jack will travel to 9 different lands, which have a decent length to them but... despite the ability to make your way around a level and find hidden areas, the game is still quite linear. One reason I don't label this as a con is the fact that every game doesn't have to be open world, it just has to deliver a great gameplay experience + story and I believe that Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time does this. Open world can lose steam if you lose sight of why you're even playing the game, so I don't mind this game keeping me on track and locked in on the action. 

I say that to say the linear approach doesn't suck.

There are just as many bosses in this game as there are lower-level enemies types, but outside of Aku and the Giant Beetle Drones, I won't spill the beans as to who they are. Expect to see a lot of familiar faces in this game (duh of the day), this includes allies like Ashi, Sir Rothchild, Da Samurai (which reminds me of Sho'Nuff from "The Last Dragon"), the Scotsman, and more.

Price: Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time, comes in at a kickass price of... $39.99 and is available on all major platforms including the Nintendo Switch.

Overall, Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time is an enjoyable game that delivers adventure, challenges, a decent amount of replay, and a story that delivers.

Story 5

Visuals 4

Gameplay 5

Price 5

4.75 out of 5 Cool Points