Students based in Japan have far tougher lives than their western counterparts. Back when I was a lad the most stressful thing on my agenda was completing math homework on time. Compare that to the curriculum followed by Japanese schoolgirl Misa. Not only does the pigtailed protagonist of Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae have academic duties to fulfil, but she is also expected to master fencing in order to battle demonic hordes. Her prowess with a sword will come in handy as she slices her way past an army of fiends in pursuit of a classmate that has been corrupted by a cursed blade.
Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae is a hack n slash brawler created by indie developer Zenith Blue. The game has been doing the rounds on Steam for two years now and is finally available to download on next gen consoles. I bet the PC master race are feeling all smug about getting the game first, but they shouldn’t gloat too much because PS4 owners can at least claim that their version of Arkham Knight actually works. The aim of this Japanese made arena fighter is to dispatch waves of enemies until the end of level guardian makes their presence known. Defeat said boss and passage to the next stage shall be granted.
Slaying foes can be accomplished via a combination of sword swipes and skull crushing melee attacks. Katana inflicted carnage deals the most damage, but be aware that the weapon cannot be used indefinitely as it depletes Misa’s blade meter. To replenish the gauge players are expected to occasionally pummel targets with a flurry of weedier punches and kicks. Misa’s modest repertoire of offensive maneuverers can be expanded throughout her quest by spending the orbs reaped from fallen adversaries. The orbs can be used to buy health upgrades, unlock new skills and purchase a new uniform (because no girl can resist clothes shopping.)
My rating for Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae is three and a half stars. It gets an above average score, as the combat is surprisingly solid for a budget title that retails for under a tenner. The action feels like a simplified DMC, starring an attractive heroine in place of emo Dante. Although the story mode’s five levels can be cleared within an hour, you’ll need to play through the adventure multiple times to earn all the trophies on offer. On the easiest difficulty you can get by on mindless button bashing, but more tactful play will be required to conquer the higher difficulties. Surviving hard mode will demand fast reflexes, mastery of the parry command and well timed counter attacks.
Despite enjoying the game Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae has a few niggles. My chief complaint lies with the positioning of the camera, which sometimes resulted in my attacks getting interrupted by out of view assailants. More enemy variation would have been nice too, as most of the grunts you face are either generic automatons or masked swordfighters sporting snazzy tuxedoes. Finally the graphics could use a facelift, as the visuals are of PS3 quality. I have no complaints with Misa’s design though. A mini-skirt wearing schoolgirl, cartwheeling across the screen, is fine by me 😉 Surprisingly Misa’s underwear is black whilst her villainous rival Suzuka prefers white panties. Who says that video games aren’t educational? Through ogling digital women I have learnt that a person’s alignment isn’t tied to the colour of their undergarments.