Title: Samurai Riot
Platform: PC (reviewed)
Developer: Wako Factory
Publisher: Wako Factory
Release date: 13th September 2017
Tl;Dr: A great concept for a game that just isn’t fully explored.
Price: £13/$15
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

I had fun playing games like Streets of Rage and Double Dragon on my dads old consoles back when I was a young gamer. I loved kicking the beans out of any sprite that dared come my way. Since then the world of side scrolling beat ’em ups has grown rather stale, with each new game in the genre just being a reskin of the core concepts and rarely bringing anything new into the world. With Wako Factory’s new game Samurai Riot, I believe things are starting to change.

Did I pick the guy with the sword? Of course I picked the guy with the sword!

From the get go Samurai Riot wears its influences on its sleeve, two warriors who remain side by side throughout any challenges they face. But it’s changed up enough to keep it fresh. The two fighters are elite Samurai entrusted by their warlord to bring an end to the war ravaging the country, which brings me to another nice bit of freshness Wako have injected into the genre. Surprisingly for a scrolling beat ’em up, Samurai Riot actually has a rather enticing story, which also adds great deal of replay value as the narrative will branch based on the choices you make in the game.

It’s an interesting turn for a beat ’em up game, the genre for the most part only focuses on just moving from A to B and kicking everyone who stands in your way. It’s a fresh coat of paint when the game asks me if I really want to kick these people or not, pro tip- yes I do!

This guy needed a LOT of kicking!

As you can tell by the art, Samurai Riot doesn’t set out to win any awards in graphics, yet its simple cartoonish animation fits the game perfectly. As I cycle through each kicking combo again and again I’m instantly teleported back to my first ever experience on Streets of Rage. This game is almost heaven to play! There are a few niggles however that with all that this game has going for it, just takes me out of the experience some.

First of all it is very clear that this game is meant to be played in co-op, I found it difficult being played it single player. This unfortunately did affect my experience with Samurai Riot. The control scheme is specifically designed to be played by two people on one PC. On the surface it seems like a welcome and novel idea, I do miss couch co-op games. Though – annoyingly – when played in single player the game doesn’t take this into consideration and I’m given the ‘player 1 controls’ which of course were designed as if there were two people on the PC. As a result, sadly, I end up playing in one tiny corner of the keyboard while the remainder is empty and unused. Of course this isn’t a deal breaker for me. It takes a little getting used to but once you are used to it it’s fine.


I am not sure whats going on here but I think it’s a good thing?

I honestly really enjoyed my time with Samurai Riot, its interesting take on the side scrolling beat ’em up games really just clicked with me. If I was forced to pick my main problem with it however, is that it just didn’t do enough to change things up. That being said Samurai Riot is a nice fresh take on what can easily be called a tired genre.



The Good

  • Actually makes me feel like my choices have consequences
  • Nice art style, blends well with the beat em up gameplay
  • Brings me back to the Streets Of Rage and Double Dragon days!

The Bad

  • The good concepts are never really fully explored
  • Has so much potential that feels a little wasted
  • Control scheme can be tough to pick up

Family Focus – Samurai Riot

At this time Samurai Riot is currently unrated by the ESRB or PEGI. And even though it’s a violent game, there’s little to no blood which makes more family friendly than most.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a review code of the game provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.