Last year, a game named Yasai Ninja was unleashed unto the world. Despite its humorous premise of an onion and broccoli fighting through Feudal Japan, the game was a broken mess. Developer RECO Technology promised a better experience for the game's sequel, Kyurinaga's Revenge. Like its predecessor and the promises of its dev team, Kyurinaga's Revenge is absolutely broken.
You play as onion samurai Kaoru Tamanegi and fighter Broccoli Joe, warriors in a unique take on Feudal Japan where every character is some type of vegetable. The story picks up from where Yasai Ninja left off, with the shogun Kyurinaga vowing revenge against the two warriors, as the title implies. It's up to Kaoru and Broccoli to find the weapons of the gods Raijin and Fujin to stop Kyurinaga and save Japan.
The premise of the game seems promising enough, and it's hard to hate it. Yes, it's silly, but the game acknowledges this absurdity through its humor. The jokes are rather cheap and sometimes obvious, but they still manage to make you chuckle. There are even a few humorous twists thrown in, like a game of rock-paper-scissors replacing a boss battle. Kaoru and Broccoli, while stereotypical as a ronin and a street brawler, respectively, still manage to be memorable characters. It's surprising that the concept of Kyurinaga's Revenge (and by extension, Yasai Ninja) was fashioned into a video game, as this could easily be an animated movie or television series.
Unfortunately, the charm ends there. Kyurinaga’s Revenge tries to fashion itself as a difficult game, where one hit means death and lives are limited. The game is split between platforming and a quick time event section called "Combat Mode." You play as both Kaoru and Broccoli for both modes, switching back and forth as needed. Both characters play exactly the same, with the only differences being their special abilities. Kaoru can place bombs to blow up enemies or obstacles, and Broccoli can throw kunai to hit faraway enemies, targets, or Kaoru's bombs. The switching mechanic is unnecessary for single player, as the unique abilities could have easily been folded into one character.
The only time switching actually matters is during Combat Mode, where Kaoru and Broccoli stand back-to-back, facing oncoming enemies from both sides. It's reminiscent of One Finger Death Punch without being a cheap ripoff. Using the L1 and R1 buttons, you switch between the two to stop any attackers. If one of the warriors falls in battle, you're prompted to rapidly press L1 and R1 to revive them. You're introduced to this mode early on, and it seems fairly easy, giving you ample time to switch and input commands. However, in the last levels, the difficulty spikes to the point where it punishes you significantly for a single mistake. Additionally, the game starts to lag as more enemies approach you, which can cause you to miss the window for certain commands.
The great majority of Kyurinaga’s Revenge is a traditional 2.5D platformer, where you collect coins and defeat enemies along the way. However, the characters move way too slow and jump like they have weights strapped to them, making basic platforming unbearable. This sluggish pace can push some levels up to 45 minutes in length. Worse, the controls are beyond dreadful. There is a constant, noticeable input lag throughout most sections, which is unreasonable for any game, let alone a platformer. However, Kyurinaga’s Revenge goes one step further, demanding absolute accuracy in your jumps. This becomes frustratingly apparent during the game's two chase sequences, where a single mistake will kill you. Because of the input lag, you aren't sure if you made the mistake, or if the shoddy controls are to blame. Even other in-game actions like grabbing and moving objects become outright unresponsive at times. These factors combined not only create an unfair level of difficulty but ensure that the game becomes a chore to play.
Sadly, this isn't the worst of it. The directional pad is nonfunctional throughout the vast majority the game. You do not get the luxury of switching between the left control stick and the D-pad for character movement. While this seems like a minor issue at first, it becomes frustrating as the game progresses, even causing hand cramps. This is a massive blunder on the part of the developers, as this feature is standard for the almost all platformers. A failure to refine the core factor of every game—playability—is inexcusable.
The only instance where the D-pad is functional is in the aforementioned rock-paper-scissors segment. It's only worth mentioning because the controls are buggy there, too. You may be wondering how it's possible that moving up and down to select one of three options could possibly be buggy. Kyurinaga's Revenge somehow found a way to break it. Between outright not reading the press of the button to thinking you hit it multiple times, it is absolutely astounding that something so simple could be broken in such a way.
Kyurinaga's Revenge can't even get its coins right. In the typical platformer, coins are easy to collect, and when you grab 100 of them, you earn an extra life. In Kyurinaga's Revenge, the normal coins do nothing but act as collectibles that let you unlock artwork. There are blue coins that can be collected within a time limit for an extra life, but beyond that and finding the occasional 1UP (represented by nigirizushi, and incorrectly described in-game as onigiri), there are no other ways to earn extra lives. This makes collecting coins outright boring, only necessary for 100% completion.
The enemies of Kyurinaga's Revenge vary between the extremes of too easy and too difficult. Most of the time, enemies are present as stage hazards, not so much foes to fight. This rarely presents a problem for the patient player. On the other hand, the boss battles are all frustrating, in part due to the slow movement speed of the game. The second boss in particular changes up the formula by introducing some platforming segments in the form of giant spears thrown at you. Some of these are much too fast, clashing against the established pace. It feels like an unbalanced challenge you're suddenly expected to deal with, and in most cases, it will cost you a life. The final boss battle is a Combat Mode sequence, and one that demands absolute accuracy to survive, which, combined with the occasional input lag, is just unfair.
There is at least an attempt at giving the game replay value, with Horde Mode, an endless variant of Combat Mode with selectable costumes for Kaoru and Broccoli, and Kyurinaga's Castle, a sort of versus mode for local cooperative play. The main game can also be played in co-op mode, but it would be unethical to ask someone else to test their patience with this game.
Kyurinaga's Revenge continues to miss the mark technically, as the controls aren't the only buggy element. On at least two occasions, the rest of a level failed to load after the end of a Combat Mode sequence. The worst bug I encountered came after restarting the game, where the controls at the main menu were completely unresponsive. At first, I thought my controller was faulty, but after extensively testing it in another game, it performed without fault. The only conclusion was that Kyurinaga's Revenge just did not want to be started at that moment in time.
The bugs extend to the audio and visual elements, too. On multiple occasions, the generic background music took a long pause before looping. At least the stock sound effects are numerous and can be heard without issue, an improvement over Yasai Ninja. Graphical clipping is common, and anti-aliasing is nonexistent or faulty for some textures. Some animations are completely absent, especially apparent in Combat Mode, where Kaoru and Broccoli can just clip back to their starting positions mid-animation. These multiple mistakes lend to the idea that Kyurinaga's Revenge is either unfinished as is or hastily slapped together without thought.
It's common practice for games to have their bugs patched after release, but there is absolutely no excuse for shipping a broken product. Whether it's not wanting to pay for quality assurance testers or a refusal to delay the game, there is no reason why any video game should be so disjointed on release day. It is outright unacceptable. Even outside of gaming, it’s a simple fact that if a product is unresponsive, it’s considered broken. Sure, some can be fixed, but Kyurinaga's Revenge honestly is not worth such effort. It leaves such a bad taste in your mouth that you wouldn't want to return to it even after a patch.
The game starts with an appropriate bit of dialogue: "A true warrior never rests. A true warrior dedicates every moment to improve his technique." RECO Technology would be wise to take their own words to heart and take their time for any future titles. There is no reason why Kyurinaga's Revenge should be this bad, especially given the response Yasai Ninja received. It has every reason to be a fun and challenging game. Instead, it is a mess of wasted potential. It's a shame, because the further adventures of Kaoru Tamanegi and Broccoli Joe would be entertaining to see. However, at the current rate they're going, it may be best to throw these vegetables out.Kyurinaga's Revenge was reviewed on the PlayStation 4 with a code provided by the developer. It is also available on the Xbox One and PC via Steam.
Kyurinaga’s Revenge is a broken mess of a platformer. With unresponsive controls, demanding platforming, and frustrating boss battles, this game is proof that some vegetables just aren't good for you.
- Unique, humorous premise
- Broken and unrefined controls
- Platforming demands perfection
- Enemies and bosses feel unfair