Publisher: USC Games Publishing
Developer: team ok
Remember when playing games with friends meant you had to actually sit and be AROUND them? Before the days of online gaming where you could hop on and listen to a 12 year old tell you all about what a failure you are and how loose your mother's morals are, people actually came together and either worked together or killed each other with civility. Chambara strives to bring that facet of gaming back and actually manages to pull it off with some success.
The game is one thing and one thing only however, it does not have a single player mode or any form of online multiplayer. Chambara must be played with multiple people and those people must all be together playing on the same console. The game can be played with between 2 and 4 people in a 1v1 winner takes all style or an arena style for several players. This is achieved with split screen play, which is executed pretty well. Chambara introduces an interesting way of defeating would be screen-watchers with the squint option. If you don’t want your opponent to see what you see of know what you are looking at, you simply hold L2 to squint, or close your eyes completely. This technique is foreign and somewhat difficult at first but once mastered is a game changer.
Chambara has a very unique art style. Each stage is going to consist of 2 colors in high contrast. Each character will be one of those 2 colors, making hiding in plain sight essential to stealthily defeat your opponent. Use your environment to your advantage, close your eyes and hide against a wall waiting for your poor little brother to walk past your spot and meet his doom. You are equipped with a melee weapon and one solid hit brings your foe down. 5 points wins you the round and bragging rights. The melee weapons are a highlight of the game, with items ranging from a standard rapier to a swordfish, anything goes. There is no performance difference that I was able to discover, they are all one hit kills. In addition to your melee weapon, you are equipped with one throwing star that must be retrieved upon a missed throw. Your ability to effectively utilize this mechanic can make or break your victory.
There are 9 maps you can play, with 2 game types (excluding the tutorial, the only part of the game able to be played solo). The maps vary in color and size, but the gameplay remains the same. The game types are the same as well, with the standard versus mode allowing you to choose between 1 and 10 rounds to complete and a quick-match mode which just throws you right in. This lack of variety is the only real downside to Chambara, as the gameplay itself is fantastic. The addition of a few more modes and some kind of single player element would take this from a good game to a great game, but as it stands it accomplishes its goal.
In an era where couch co-op has gone fallen by the wayside, Chambara is a refreshing return to where gaming used to be, while still in touch with where it is today. This is a great party game for when you have friends over, reminiscent of Super Smash Brothers Melee and other arena type games. There is not enough to keep you going for hours at a time, but in small doses it manages to fill a void that I did not really notice was there before. I commend Team OK for doing something different and taking a risk. They managed to succeed in an impressive way, and for $9.99 it is hard to beat. This is a definite but if you are someone who regularly has people over for game night or for someone looking for something to play with family members living under the same roof.