Having never touched a mobile game from Square Enix, my first impression of Musashi: Mobile Samurai was an eye-opener. And I mean that literally. Most companies take it slow and steady when they approach the mobile space. They throw in some old conversions or 2D versions of their franchises first before venturing any further. Musashi: Mobile Samurai looks light years beyond those initial tepid steps I found from big name publishers in the wireless space.
Square Enix has made a fluid 3D fighting game around its Playstation Musashi franchise. In the audio department, the game features a simple musical soundtrack. During gameplay, you’ll hear variations of clicks and clanks as you attack your enemy. However, the piece de resistance has to go to the special moves burst into a dazzling array of animated fight sequences that makes you think you’re watching some action packed Japanese anime. It’s a really addictive experience and will encourage you to pull of some of the special attacks just for aesthetic sake.
It’s fairly easy to master the controls. You can dodge left or right to avoid the blow but once your opponent commits, that opens up a range of options for you to counterattack. All of this is done intuitively and in fact you can pretty much sweep the initial half dozen battles by simply pressing on the OK button and moving from side to side. Purists will probably find it too easy, although this makes the game more accessible. I wish there was an expert mode to kick in more sophisticated controls.
As an action game, I found Musashi: Mobile Samurai to be a satisfying game. The battles keep getting increasingly more difficult and unlike traditional fighting games like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter, you don’t have to finish the entire thing in one go. The game lets you save your spot in between ladders so you can continue your conquest at another time. I found this to be a very mobile friendly feature.
The audio visuals really show how seriously Square Enix treats wireless gaming (perhaps because the whole industry is ahead in Japan). It’s really light years ahead of some of the 2D games we still find being put to market in North America. However, its main drawback is its simplicity.