Chambara is a flawed, but fun game that provides an entertaining twist on the stealth multiplayer genre.
Developer: team ok LLC
Publisher: USC Games Publishing
Platforms: PS4 (version reviewed), Xbox One (coming soon)
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Chambara is a simple idea: you control a single-colored samurai with the objective to eliminate the other player by blending into the two-colored map. The game is enjoyable, but it’s an odd choice to create a multiplayer-only game without an online element.
Get past the hurdle of having friends physically in the room with you, and Chambara is fun in short bursts. Chambara revolves around two to four samurai fighting by blending into the environment around them. For example, the first map I played was shaded in black and white. Playing as the black samurai, I would stand in front of a black wall, which made me invisible to the other player. I could wait for them to walk past me and cut them down once I saw the movement on the screen.
The controls are limited to attack, dash attack, turn 180 degrees, jump, close your eyes (more on that later) and throw your shuriken to stun the other player. Once thrown, you need to find and collect your shuriken, adding some strategy. Wasting a throw means your enemy sees where you are, and you must waste time to cross the map to retrieve it. Only one hit is required to kill the other player, so stealth fighting is required to be successful.
Adding different options would have given Chambara the replay value it is lacking.
Though a heinous offense to people who grew up with couch multiplayer games, screen watching is an inevitable part of the game. Playing into that trend, an interesting control is the ability to close your eyes. This makes your screen blank, avoiding letting other people in the room see where you are by looking at your screen. This also means blinding yourself to the world around you. Unable to see, looking at the other player’s screen is the only way to know when to launch your attack.
The game offers some aesthetic customization, such as changing your hat, your weapon, and what “feathers” fall out of you when you get hit. At one point my character was beat down mercilessly by a swordfish-wielding samurai. The maps really only change the color scheme of the game, but do add a cool variety for such a small change. As far as depth, though, that’s as far as Chambara goes.
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There are limited menu options, including a tutorial that you are able to play without another player, though it’s short-lived and limited to just understanding the controls. The other modes include building a playlist of maps and the option of jumping right into a battle. These modes give an error when you try to load them up as a single player, though, so another human in the room with you is required. There are no varied gameplay modes; stealth kill is the only mode available. Adding different options would have given Chambara the replay value it is lacking.
Chambara is enjoyable but is limited to a few rounds before the fun starts to dissipate. Switching hats or colors didn’t vary the gameplay enough to warrant much replay value. A fun party game when you are having people over, Chambara can offer fleeting enjoyment with friends before it grows stale.
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.