Hello, there. Meinos Kaen here, and welcome to this Sensitive Review of Usagi Yojimbo – Way of the Ronin. Since this is a particularly sensitive material, copyright wise, I decide to make a written version of it instead of the usual video. Let’s go.
If you have never read Usagi Yojimbo before, heathen. Educate yourself. In short, it’s an Eisner Award winning comic book by Stan Sakai. It narrates the adventures of Miyamoto Usagi, a ronin rabbit samurai inspired by Miyamoto Musashi. Don’t let the fact that the characters are anthropomorphic animals deceive you. Usagi Yojimbo is probably the best samurai story I’ve ever seen. It’s a shame the character never got any cartoon adaptations, except cameos in other series.
This may have to do with the fact that Stan Sakai is very protective of his creature. To this day, each and every right about Usagi belongs solely to him… Which makes me wonder exactly how did they convince him to let them make Way of the Ronin here. It’s a brawler, now out on Steam for PC but it’s actually a mobile port… And it shows. I don’t know how good the game is on phones but on a PC? It’s a mess. The controls are kind of fine if you want to use a keyboard, but if you want to use a controller?
I don’t know what they did with the code but the controls are NOT what they appear on here! Heavy makes me jump, jump makes me attack light… Also, they forgot to add a pause button in both control sets. To pause you necessarily need to click the pause icon with the mouse. Also, there’s no way to quit the game. You heard that right. To close the game, you need to alt-tab and right click. There’s no other way. And that’s just the controls. We still haven’t gotten into gameplay.
The game tells a story about Usagi having to stop the demon swordsman Jei from releasing a bunch of demons called the Old Ones. It takes place in thirteen stages of varying length, for a total of one hour and a half of game! This thing is sadly veeeery easy. The enemies -which no matter what they are always have the same cries of pain- are basically split in light, heavy, flying, and ranged. Usagi learns a bunch of combos and specials who do very little damage, but you only need to memorize two.
Mashing light or heavy and the double jump whirlwind of doom! This will knock enemies back even off screen, giving you breather and stunning them. It’s so overpowered that they decided to not make it do any damage whatsover… Unless it’s Lord Hebi. For whatever reason. Speaking of the enemies, the AI is a mess. You will see them attack air or run right past you without attacking. And some will frustratingly get stuck somewhere off screen, leaving you to hack at random to make the level progress.
And once you get two, three upgrade levels, they will start dropping like flies. Because they do not upgrade their health and armour with you. I’ve died only once in the whole game. And that was because the final boss has a homing unavoidable attack. Also, the models of the characters show where each piece ends and where the next one begins so. Many. Times. I guess this didn’t happen on a phone, but on a PC? Yeah… Long story short? There’s only one reason why you should buy this game.
That is: if you’re an Usagi Yojimbo fan, since this is only the SECOND game ever released about the series. The other being a Commodore 64 hack and slash. If nothing else, Way of the Ronin actually feels and looks like the comics. If you’re a Stan Sakai fan and you want to spend a little time playing pretend Usagi? Buy this game on your phone. Even as a big Yojimbo fan, I can’t in good faith tell people to buy the pc version of this mess. Everyone else? There are better ways to spend 4,99.