Inspired by platformers & beat-em-ups from the 90’s comes Okinawa Rush, a fast-paced arcade brawler with a whole lot of heart (and fists). What will strike you almost immediately is that Okinawa wears its retro influences well and truly on its sleeves.
In the brief demo I played (which you can check out for yourself here) I was placed into role of Hiro Yashima, fisherman, father and husband as he punched, kicked and headbutted his way through an army of ninjas. The combat is quick and arcadey in the best possible way, skating the fine line between button mashing and genuine skill and technique.The game has more in common with a Street Fighter than Golden Axe, with button commands executing combo moves and specials. There’s a training section too which shows off just how deep the fighting can get if you want it too.
In the level I played I hit certain points where I was told I was not strong enough to proceed yet. I was then asked to increase the difficulty, by choosing a new belt colour and fight through the enemies all over again. This meant that the difficulty increased gradually and by a few playthroughs I felt like a kung-fu master. There was also plenty to do including try out weapons, save prisoners and collect items.
Traversing the environments is a real-breeze thanks to the over-the-top wall jumping and running mechanics. You can quickly dart across the map, but so can the enemies so knowing when to back-out at the right moment is key. In Okinawa Rush you can parry anything from feet to ninja stars which gives the game a nice tactical edge. Executing a perfect parry is hugely satisfying every time and begs the player to get better.
The story is told through a series of hand-drawn cinematic cut-scenes, all in a pixel art style. The aesthetic is pure arcade bliss and definitely made me nostalgic for the days sat cross-legged playing SEGA Megadrive. While the game is grounded in retro design, it does feature some interesting modern touches. For one, the character features stats which improve with each battle and there’s also a great customisation system to dive into.
And like all great arcade fighters, Okinawa Rush also features multiplayer. There are three characters to choose from all with their own move-sets and fighting style. Okinawa Rush is currently available on Kickstarter so check it out and pledge if you like what you played!