Heading into Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The show had finally gotten its closure and I wasn’t really sure what more could be left to explore there. But Battle Through Time quite literally picks up during that last episode but this time during Jack’s travel back to the past he’s kicked out to a reality where time and space seem to not have any concrete concept at all. However, this approach also limits the attractiveness of this game to anyone who wasn’t an avid watcher of the series. This is our Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time review.
As I mentioned the game starts off with the end of the series and inserts a side trip into that episode. It was fantastic to start off with the old series, but it did result in me feeling a bit sad that the old art style wasn’t carried through the rest of the game. That said, the 3D animation was really well done and did work towards making me feel like I had really fallen into some crazy new world. As much as I enjoyed running into many of the old characters, I was sad that there was very little interaction with them. As such the story never really gets beyond the basics of trying to find your way back to the past to kill Aku.
One aspect which would be completely lost on anyone new is each level is inspired by an episode of the series. It isn’t a direct pull in, but occasionally Jack would make comments about remembering a place. Or when running into a character for the first time he’d wonder how they were there and reference when he had previously saved them. As a fan all of this was fun, but for anyone, without all the back context it probably wouldn’t go over so well. Especially considering these random drops of info aren’t from this which happens in-game but rather from Jack speaking to himself (the player).
The combat is a ton of fun though and I loved how I could customize it with both talent choices and weapon choice. It was nice stepping back in time a bit to the older feel of action games, without having to also give-up voice overs. The talents are arranged in a pinwheel set-up and can be unlocked with a currency collected through gameplay. One of the very early talents was also one of my favorites. It allowed me to slide while guarding, which might not sound all that great but I used the heck out of it. My favorite move was to block an attack, slide behind the attacker, and attack from behind. Particularly effective to anything carrying a shield.
One of the few areas of Battle Through Time I found consistently frustrating were the sections where I randomly wasn’t able to turn the camera around. For the majority of the game, I could turn it freely, but it felt like every stage had a section or two where I wouldn’t be able to do this. Most of the time it was because there was a mini platforming section, so it kind of made sense. However, none of the platforming sections were very long or challenging at all. I say this as someone perpetually challenged in any game when jumping comes into play. So the removal of the camera pan felt more arbitrary than anything else.
Overall I had a blast with Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time, and if you’re looking for a quick old-style action RPG this is a great pick. However, it may be a bit difficult to get into if you aren’t a big fan of the show or like to have a lot of story and character interaction in game.
This game was reviewed using a Switch code provided by PR.