Its been ages since the last Samurai Jack game released and since then, the animated series has finished its run on Cartoon Network. 2020 came around and the unexpected happened, a new Samurai Jack game for the modern era! Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time puts players in Jack’s shoes near the end of the animated series. A serious twist in the story occurs, sending Jack back into the past (sort of). He’s separated from Ashi and taken to the beginning of the series. From there, players fight their way through time in hack and slash goodness to finally defeat Aku.
Aku pulls a trump card in his battle against Jack and Ashi and unfortunately, Jack gets caught up in a weird time-restraint. Once caught, Jack is sent back in time to the start of the series with the memories of everything he’s been through. However, its not a simple trip down memory lane of Samurai Jack’s 5 seasons. Time itself has been warped by Aku and characters have taken notice of this to an extent. Jack soon meets up with The Scotsman, who ends up being possessed by an Aku amulet. Fortunately, Jack fights him off long enough to shatter the amulet. Once doing so, time is warped again and Jack is transported into another time in the series. It seems like Jack’s work is cut out for him, but he and his Magic Sword are ready to cut down enemies once again!
Fighting as the Samurai
Samurai Jack fans have not had a proper game in over 15 years. Players get to control Jack with iconic Magic Sword and turn him into a serious warrior in this action hack and slash game. Jack is able to use that sword along with ranged weapons and other melee weapons. The game has an inventory system where players can equip items, weapons and gear to suit their play-style. For instance, Jack can equip a bow or gun to dispatch enemies at a distance. Want heavy, devastating attacks? Equip a scythe or naginata and have at it. Weapons have durability and break after prolonged use so be sure to repair them every once in a while. Jack possesses an Kiai attack which unleashes a volley of attacks toward enemies around him. The Kiai attack is charged by defeating enemies, gaining Kiai Fire and taking damage.
In addition to weapons, Jack has a huge skill tree to unlock abilities, upgrades and much more. Players earn Skill Fire and other items gained through defeating enemies to unlock these skills and moves. Its very rewarding to enhance Jack’s HP, defense and overall attack to make quicker work of enemies. More upgrades in Jack’s repertoire allows him to string some neat combos, evade with counterattacks and increase his inventory. Upgrades aside, Jack also gains his Season 5 appearance later in the game. Fans of the final season may don his bearded look!
The Levels of Samurai Jack
Battle Through Time takes players to familiar places from the animated series. It’s really nostalgic for fans who watched all seasons and graphically, the game looks beautiful. Levels are structured similar to other action games and includes some tough boss battles. Each level is uniquely crafted with secrets to find, treasure chests and collectibles. Along with secrets, each level introduces challenges like taking out a certain amount of robots. Challenge completions award Jack with more Skill Fire. Characters like Da Samurai and Rothchild are in these levels to offer Jack advice or set up shop. They may even give the player rewards too so talking to them is helpful toward getting upgrades. Upon finishing a level, the player is greeted with a results screen and their own ranking for the level. Players who want to ace each level may find some added replay value in pursuing the best rank.
Some Shortcomings for the Samurai
Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time is a really fun game but it does have some issues that might turn off players. The most noticeable issue is an achievement bug on Steam that has not been fixed as of yet. This will definitely affect players who like keeping track of achievements on Steam as the bug simply will not unlock any achievements. While playing the game, many characters like The Scotsman’s Daughters don’t have voiced lines of dialogue. This is a bummer for fans who enjoyed these characters’ voices during the series as Rothchild and Da Samurai will only say two lines throughout the game. Cut-scenes are voiced and they’re really great, although concise. Combat at the beginning of the game feels really limited but unlocking skills helps remedy that with progression.
A Great Return to the World of Samurai Jack
Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time is an awesome game for fans of the series as well as action game fans who need to scratch the itch. The levels are fun to navigate through and the skill tree allows for some creative combos through progression. Jack feels responsive and powerful in action, which makes this game a joy to play through. Overall, its a 6 to 8 hour experience depending on the player with some replayablity. Its nostalgic to players, including myself, who watched the original run on Cartoon Network all those years ago. The best part is seeing the past brought back with new visuals and gameplay for the present. Jack’s back, get him back to the past (and future)!
Thank you Adult Swim Games for giving us the opportunity to review Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time on Steam!