And another one! This seems like good time for pixel art games. Cause really, some of them are pretty darn good.
In Katana Zero, you are a samurai in cyberpunk setting, and this should already make you go try the game. So, you are a samurai - you wear some sort of kimono and wield a katana. Which you use to slash your enemies. Each of them dies from one hit. But here's the kicker - you also die in one hit. One bullet, even one punch will take you out, and you have to start the screen all over again.
Game levels are divided into 'screens' or stages. And what happens is you basically 'plan' each stage (by actually performing all the action), and if you die, time rewinds and you have to start again. Each stage is short enough, but each is challenging enough, as even the lowliest brawler can kill you if they land a shot.
The main character can obviously kill people with katana, he can pick up and throw stuff (starting with knives and bottles and ending with remote mines by the end of the game), he can roll to dodge hits and bullets, and, most important of all, he can slow down time. That uses up charge meter, but in that state it's very easy to see what is happening, and you can easily hit bullets with your sword, sending them back to the enemies. Though, thing is - if you are fast enough, you can hit bullets even without slowing time. But that's damn hard. And, armed with just these tools, you will proceed to paint the whole town red. Quite literally.
With gameplay out of the way, we can ask - why are we doing all this? Well, here is where it gets tricky. The main character is an assassin. Each day he goes into an office of a guy who acts like a shrink. That guy asks question and injects medicine into hero's arm. And then he gives you the file that states your next target, and special conditions. Sometimes you must leave no survivors, sometimes you should not kill anyone other than the target.
Problems start when you targets actually start talking to you. And they talk about strange things. Things you don't understand, but things that feel very familiar to you. And sometimes you cannot discuss it with the shrink guy, cause he is not even always in his office. Which is really bad, because if you go more than a day without your medication... things will get... strange. Nightmares will intensify, you will experience same moments over and over, you will see the future, you will see the weird fucks Comedy and Tragedy playing dice with your fate... and then blissful feeling of needle in your arm, and you are back again. And almost back to normal.
Honestly, I cannot say much more without spoiling the whole story, which is pretty good. I will mention characters, though. There are at least 2 other sword wielding maniacs. There's war veteran with severe PTSD, there's the shrink guy who really hater working with you, but he got no choice, there's little girl from apartment next door, who is your last time to actual humanity, there's Russian thug, who starts swearing in native language when he is excited (which was really unexpected for me when it happened), there are your targets even, who can provide some juicy dialogue if you choose to listen... They are interesting, and they provide you with understanding of what is going on. Then again, they can also lie to you, pursuing their own agenda.
All in all, game has some really crazy story and imagery, good music, and really gripping gameplay. It's pretty difficult, especially towards later levels, where you have to go through a lot of obstacles in a single stage. But this is definitely great action game, and it got damn good style.