What makes a Simple 2000 release worthwhile? Does the concept need to be original? Does the game have to be “good?” Or simply playable? There are roughly three grades of Simple 2000 games out there: those that are terrible and unplayable, those that are terrible and playable, and those that are not terrible. I had fully expected this game to fall into the first category, but I found something that just barely sneaks into the second.
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My copy of Oneechanbara 2 arrived the day before yesterday. I’ve only played it briefly, but enough to give some impressions. Really, it’s the same thing as the first game, but better-executed.
It looks and feels much, much better. Like Oneechanbara, most of the effort was clearly spent on making the characters appealing and fun to play. There are now three attack types: sword, hand-to-hand, and an alternate attack that varies from character to character. Aya (the one in bikini and cowboy hat) throws shuriken, her younger sister Saki dashes up to zombies and can pull off body parts, and the mysterious new biker has an old-fashioned shotgun that can be fired in any cardinal direction. Holding different directions modifies attacks: for example, holding back and hitting kick does a sweep, while holding forward and hitting kick with Aya makes her do a roundhouse kick that sends enemies flying. The different attack types can be comboed into one another, and it’s easy to get a feel for which attacks are good for starting or chaining and which are finishers. The combo system feels robust enough that it should be fun to try for high hit and kill counts, though I’m not very skilled with it yet.
D3 Publisher are honest about their design and business goals: they produce budget-priced software that takes a simple concept – often one already established by full-priced games – and build a game around it that conforms to their very limited production budgets and schedules. Other times their concepts are original and experimental (something the nature of the budget game often allows), and still other games are obvious ripoffs upon which D3 has put their own spin. Continue reading