Game Title: Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae
Company: Zenith Blue
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Digital Download
Battery Life: 4-5 hours
Download: 119 MB
It feels like every time I look at the eShop, there are a bunch of new Japanese-themed games heading to the Switch. I’m kinda glad, as it gives me that much more Japanese content to do for Reviews 2 Go. This week was no different, as I saw an interesting-looking action game that is very, very Japanese.
Dubbed by its previous releases as something like a Devil May Cry lite, here is my review of Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae for the Nintendo Switch!
The plot revolves around two students of the Blade Templars, a group responsible for protecting the world from demonic invaders. When one of the students, Suzuka, strikes down their teacher under the influence of a demon sword, Misa is sent after her to put an end to the sword and Suzuka both.
The plot sets things up well enough, but it’s nothing all that special. You get an intro like what I said above and a couple little dialogue lines across the story about sword skills and duty, but there’s no real character development here. You are just placed in the shoes of Misa and never really get any depth outside of her and Suzuka interacting a few times, Misa being taunted for her sword skills. We get next to nothing about Suzuka outside of “student is influenced by evil sword and must now die”
MKH is a 3D action game that heavily relies on moving around in an arena and stringing combos together against waves of enemies. Think of it as a sort of cross between Croixleur Sigma and DMC.
When you go into the game, you really only have two game modes to choose from: New Game and Tutorial. There’s also Option, Credit, and Achievement, but those are more menu-based with no actual gameplay thrown into them.
The Tutorial is a basic run-down of how everything works in the game, from the Bleed System to how attack combos work. It does a pretty decent job of explaining everything (since the Story Mode/Campaign doesn’t) as well as the buttons responsible for each action you can perform.
Story Mode is the meat of this game, though. Whenever you do a run through the campaign, you’ll be going through 5 arena stages as you fight off bodyguards and demonic entities in your quest to find and stop Suzuka. When you start, you also have difficulty settings to set how much damage you do to enemies and how much you take from them.
This is where the game gets interesting. You can freely move around this arena and attack with a few different attack types. You can do melee attacks with your fists and legs as well as slashing attacks with your sword. Once you do enough damage to an enemy, you can get them into “Bleeding” Status, where you can do a special sword skill to do critical damage to them and heal yourself in the process. It’s also a critical part of boss fights, as most bosses can parry most attacks until they get into Bleed Status and their defense tanks for a short while.
I’ll admit that this starts out feeling pretty basic and restrictive. You don’t have a lot of different attacks and maneuvers when you start your run, but once you gain points from defeating enemies and use the Upgrade system to unlock and power up different attacks, it’s a very different story. You go from doing simple 3-4 hit combos to large dashing attacks, followed up by extensive combinations of fist and sword fighting that can end in almost-endless combos as you fight through increasingly-larger and more difficult mobs of enemies.
Now, the looks of this definitely has a musou feel to it, which made me think it would be a bit repetitive, but the game is smart in that each stage introduces new enemy types that require different strategies to get around and fight. You easily go from just mashing buttons to fight off human enemies to having to carefully combo and parry or dodge to keep from taking large damage from new enemies that can block your incoming attacks and perform devastating counterattacks.
But, that’s not to say everything is good and fun. The combat is a load of fun once you start upgrading, but the camera makes it harder than it needs to be. There is no lock-on function and the camera will often hide enemies that are sneaking up behind you. Beyond that, some of the attacks don’t follow your commands when you want to lock onto certain enemies. I will direct my character to one enemy and two-hit dash attack will start with that enemy and quickly move to someone else, making some fights a bit frustrating.
To add onto the negative side of things, this game isn’t very long. A single run through the campaign should take you around 1.5-2 hours, depending on which difficulty setting you choose. As far as post-game goes, the game has built-in achievements for trophy hunters and each difficulty setting has a special costume you unlock upon completion. More cosmetic than anything, but that’s about as far as post-game goes.
Controlling the game isn’t too hard. It’s all with button controls. No motion or touch controls for this game.
You move around with the Left Analog Stick or Arrow Buttons and move the camera with the Right Analog Stick. The L trigger isn’t really used, while the R, ZL, and ZR triggers are used for special moves, Guarding, and the Bleeding Finisher move, respectively.
The rest is on the action buttons. A can be held for a special Holy Art attack. B is used for jumping. The X and Y buttons are responsible for most attacks with the Y button being used for hand-to-hand combat and X for your swordplay. You can also upgrade special attacks later on that combine X and Y with analog directions.
Graphically, the game doesn’t look bad. The character models look quite detailed, especially when you see them in event scenes. The problem with presentation is more Audio Quality than anything else. Some of the sound effects sound like they are much lower quality than others. Specifically, the hand-to-hand combat sound very strange and LQ when compared to the sound of sword slashes.
Performance I have no problem with. Load times are short and the fps stays perfect for the entire game.
This game is another pleasant surprise for handheld gamers. Here are my Battery Times, from 100% to 0%
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 54 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 09 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 58 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 5 hours, 03 minutes
This is quite a bit of time, especially for a 2-hour game. You’re going to get lots of playtime in handheld mode.
In conclusion, MKH is a Japanese action game with a fun and in-depth combat system, brought down by a multitude of issues with its story, camera, and presentation. There’s some fun to be had, but that fun doesn’t come without frustration and low-quality audio.
Final Score: 6.5/10