Samurai Riot Definitive Edition – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Beat 'em up
Developer: Wako Factory
Publisher: Wako Factory, Hound Picked Games
Platform: PC, Switch
Tested on: Switch

Samurai Riot Definitive Edition – Review

Site Score
Good: Branching storylines, Solid foundation
Bad: Plays things too safe, Bland and forgettable
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 3.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Long gone are the days that games such as Final Fight or Streets of Rage reigned supreme. While many of these classics are getting a new lease on life, the side-scrolling beat ’em up genre has faded to the background for quite some time. Now and then a few indie developers have a go at recreating the classic gameplay formula of the 90s while also trying to add a few original gimmicks to the mix. We recently fought off supernatural beings in Mayhem Brawler, a game that had a lot of good ideas but just lacked some overall polish. Now, we unsheath our blades and choose to blindly follow the empire or join the resistance in Samurai Riot Definitive Edition.


Samurai Riot takes us back to a universe where Samurais still reign supreme. It’s clear that this world is different than ours, as it also has a lot of hints of modern technology, even though the way of the sword is still common practice. The game starts off with Sukane and Tsuruamaru who have to chase a bandit down. Even though these two warriors have always followed the orders of their master, things are not as easy now. Both fighters as tasked to cut down the opposition, but in this case the opposition consists of the farmers and villagers who are simply trying to survive. From here on out, you’ll be able to choose for yourself what you wish to do: keep fighting for your master or join the resistance. This gimmick is quite entertaining and does add a bit of freshness to the overall story.


Samurai Riot is a fairly pretty game to look at. The characters have fluid movements, even though many character models are repeated over and over with different color schemes. The character models do look as if they come from a highly polished Flash game from the early 2000s. That being said, what truly steals the show here are the backgrounds. The backdrops for the different stages have a lot of details in them, and they just look like a lot of time was invested in crafting them. There is a fairly big contrast between the characters and the backdrops, but all in all, they mesh together quite well. The presentation of the dialogues, however, was extremely bland with the usage of simple speech bubbles. Some more character artwork or a few extra cutscenes could have done wonders here.


The sound design is decently handled. You’ll get proper background music in the different levels, and the sound effects are also adequate for the job at hand. We did expect a bit more here though, as the game could have benefitted from some voice acting outside of the cutscenes or a slightly more explosive soundtrack. We sometimes found the music a bit too timid considering all the skulls we were cracking.


Samurai Riot is a very traditional side-scrolling beat ’em up game in which you’ll punch and kick your way through several short stages, many of which end with a boss battle. The game allows you to pick out of two characters, each having a few variations of their base stats, making sure the game is tailored to different playstyles. The game is very straightforward, as you can just kick, punch and fight your way through the stages alone or with a friend. We did like the fact that the game has different save slots for single-player and co-op play. This means that you can just pick up your co-op game later when your friend or family member joins the fun again. Sadly, you cannot add players to an already started single-player game, or remove players from an already in-progress co-op game. This just felt like bad game design, because you might have had a fun evening with a friend, but perhaps not see that friend for several weeks or months afterward.

Outside of the choices you can make in the story, which then add some replay value to the mix, the game doesn’t do anything particularly groundbreaking or special. The mechanics feel decent, but the enemy variation is very limited, and more than once we encountered a lot of empty scenes in the already short levels. Playing through the game itself will also only take you roughly two hours, and even though the aforementioned story options add some replay value, we reckon a lot of players will consider this a one-and-done ordeal. Don’t get us wrong, there isn’t that much wrong with the game, except that it just feels fairly bland and in many ways as if this is just a demo or an unfinished product.


Samurai Riot Definitive Edition is one of those games that’s not necessarily bad but is instead just very bland and forgettable. The game does try to do some interesting things with its branching storylines, but other than that, you’ll get a run-of-the-mill sidescroller with decent mechanics. We did enjoy the variations of base stats for each of the characters, but there’s nothing groundbreaking going on here. For the price you’re paying, you won’t break the bank, but there are far more interesting options out there. This one might be a solid buy; when it’s heavily discounted.

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Rating: 3.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Samurai Riot Definitive Edition - Review, 3.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

Aspiring ninja.

1 Comment

  1. | Jitsu Squad – Review
    December 31, 2022, 01:52

    […] releases such as Samurai Riot and Mayhem Brawler, it’s clear that the side-scrolling beat ’em up genre is not dead. […]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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