Fans of the Samurai Jack series are no stranger to waiting, due to 12 years passing until the final season was released. Now, the wait for a quality video game entry featuring the titular hero is over. Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time is the first game to take place in the series since 2004 and the first to feature Jack since 2011. Developed by Soleil Games and published by Adult Swim Games, this entry is a love letter to the show and plays just like an episode of the show would. Featuring familiar characters, fun gameplay, and a story that ties into the series finale, this release is perfect for fans or anyone looking to scratch a samurai-sized itch.

Samurai Jack Switch Review

Feels Just Like an Episode from the Show

At first glance, Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time may seem like a cheap tie-in but this is far from the case. The game feels like you’re playing an episode from the show which features noticeable characters and locations. Tying into the series finale, Jack is sent to the past by the evil Aku to prevent Jack from defeating him. It’s an intriguing premise but it does go a long way. Fans of the show will immediately recognize the levels in the game as being key spots from the series. Those that haven’t seen the show or simply don’t remember are in luck as well. Before the start of each level, Jack explains how he recalls the area and what it meant, so it isn’t just hardcore fans that understand everything. These callbacks never feel annoying or come off as relying too much on nostalgia, instead, it makes the universe more interactive.

Dropping into the first mission, you’ll notice how unique the game looks. Its art style comes off as a true iteration of the series and not just something that attempts to be apart of it. However, the sights from the game don’t necessarily mesh well with the sound since there hardly are any. At times where a decent soundtrack could help escalate tensions and have fights feel epic, there just simply weren’t any. It is a shame that there is not an enjoyable or noticeable music score surrounding it because it definitely could help capture a stronger mood. Yet, this title can bring back the original voice actors from the show to reprise their roles. When a cutscene appears, it is worth it to turn the sound on and hear just how great their voice acting work still is.

Samurai Jack Switch Review

Fun Combat but Lacking an Identity

If you’ve ever wanted to become Samurai Jack, this is the closest you can get to it. This release is a hack-and-slash title similar to ones found in the original God of War trilogy or Devil May Cry franchise. The only problem, though, is that there isn’t anything unique or fresh to this title’s gameplay. If you’ve played one of the aforementioned titles, you’ll know that there is often an interesting hook or something that makes that entry standout. Here, that isn’t the case. Players can go through levels and fight off enemies but the combos aren’t intricate and the mechanics don’t go a long way. Luckily, the game spans around five hours so it never becomes too stale or drawn out. I must say though, it is really fun mowing through enemies without much thought but if you’re looking for something with deep mechanics, this may not be your best bet.

The gameplay can grow deeper through the use of items, challenges, and unlockables. An item shop pops up throughout each level and there you can buy ammo for ranged weapons, healing items, and even increase your stats for each weapon that could be used. It’s nice to have but saving up coins to max out your stats feels like a grind since it takes a long time to have enough to purchase. Challenges are present to help the game come off as not so grindy but they can take some time to complete. They aren’t incredibly difficult though so that isn’t much of a worry. Finally, there is a skill tree that the player can continuously unlock to tailor the game to their liking and have Jack become powerful in their respective ways. With multiple branches, there’s plenty for players to look through and unlock, yet it never feels overwhelming. It

Samurai Jack Switch Review

Not Much Replayability

As I mentioned previously, this title spans roughly five hours of game time. With that being said, there isn’t a whole lot to do once that time has ended. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing but if you are wanting a lengthy journey or something to keep coming back to, this isn’t it. However, there are collectibles that if you find them all, an alternative ending will unlock. There are also enough challenges and skills to make it a meaty experience if you plan to 100% this game. It’s incredibly nice to have a shorter title to play through as this never drags on, contains backtracking, or has difficulty spikes to force you to keep playing. From its difficulty to its length, everything is just right.

Playing on the Nintendo Switch does have its fair share of issues. During my playthrough, there were times where the graphics would dip when in handheld mode and slowdowns were present. When a longer play session was happening, it wasn’t strange for the fan within the system to go off to cool the system. Playing in docked mode did see an increase in performance but not enough to have me avoid handheld entirely. Despite these technological shortcomings, this is still a title worth playing and checking out on the Nintendo Switch. Playing in short bursts made it a much more enjoyable experience than if I had played for a lengthier amount of time.

Samurai Jack Switch Review

You can easily tell that Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time was made by a team who cared about the property. There is a lot of heart put into this entry that fans of the show will surely enjoy. Yet, if you aren’t a fan and are simply looking for a shorter, more enjoyable experience, this is worth checking out. The plot feels like an episode taken straight from the show with the art style helping it come to life. Where the gameplay falls short in terms of presenting new ideas, it shines in its ability to be a fun title akin to old platformers from the sixth generation of gaming. Although there are some performance issues on the Switch, being able to play in handheld mode helps offset these. For anyone looking for a bit more Samurai Jack in their lives, playing this entry is a no-brainer.

 

Thank you to our friends at Adult Swim Games for providing us with a review code!

Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time Review (Nintendo Switch)
Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time is a fun title that is perfect for any fan of the series.
Overall Score7.5
Pros
  • Enjoyable Story
  • Play like an Episode from the Show
  • Fun Gameplay
Cons
  • Combat Doesn't Stand Out
  • Some Performance Issues
  • Little Replayability
7.5Good
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

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