Katana Kata, what a wonderful phrase. It means “a way or form of memorising and improving combat moves”, in this case with the Katana blade. It helps to display where Katana Kata’s interests are: this is a game that wants you to fail, and fail again, until its swordplay becomes so fluid and natural that it forms muscle memory. Yep, this is a Souls-like game, and it takes no prisoners. Katana Kata is out now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5, and Switch, where it joins a previous drop on PC.
You are able to control not only the timing of your strikes, but their direction too. Your inputs are going to have to be exact, as there is an emphasis on realism. If you get hit, and hit well, then you are dead in a single blow. It reminds of some of the more demanding eastern-originating fighters of the past, like Bushido Blade.
Equally, if you land a solid hit on an enemy, they are also immediately defeated, so there’s a huge reward for mastering the intricacies of Katana Kata. A combination of strikes, parries, blocks and dodges will need to become instinctive if you are going to make headway through the various levels.
Nioh comes to mind in terms of approach and theme, while there is a minimalist – but beautifully animated – look to the visuals that make you feel like you are playing with maquettes or mannequins. Add this to occasional Tenchu or Aragami moments of stealth and one-hit ambushes, and you have a fantastic cocktail of devilishly difficult games.
The screenshots and trailers don’t show a huge amount of variety in the environments, but there are certainly differences in the enemies you fight (with a surprising number in their pants), and we are informed that you will have a wealth of weapons to fight with. You won’t only have the trusty katana.
Katana Kata is out now on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S and starts at £12.49 from the Xbox Store, and a reduced £9.99 on launch. It’s also out on PS4, PS5, Switch and PC. Hold tight for our full review in the days ahead.
“Kata – a way or form to memorize and improve combat moves” Katana Kata – is a souls-like game, where not only your timing matters, but also directions of strikes. You will fight your way through a bunch of enemies on different locations to kill the former apprentices of your master and fix his mistakes of the past. You will die a lot, but as any apprentice learn their way through the kata with mistakes, you will learn your way through every enemy on your path. You will try different weapons until you find what better suits your fighting style. Your fighting skills will grow, but true mastery is in your head in knowing your enemies and nuances of fight. The core of the fight in Katana Kata is in combination of strikes, blocks, parry and dodge – pretty easy to learn, but with a lot of nuances to master, so even after a lot of deaths and repetition every fight can feel different.