Samurai Defender (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Renan Fontes 13.10.2015

Review for Samurai Defender on Nintendo 3DS

iOS games have a bad reputation for being a bit on the lazy side of design and amateurish. That's not to say they are all bad, though. They're a great way of giving developers an opportunity to put their name out there and put money towards more ambitious projects. There are also some truly outstanding iOS titles out there, and they're almost always relatively cheap. Why all this talk of iOS games for a 3DS review, then? Samurai Defender is a port of an iOS title, but not a particularly good one.

"Samurai tower defence" alone is enough to get anyone excited. Tower defence titles challenge the mind, forcing quick reactions to all things on screen and the need to think up fast-paced and effective strategies to stay alive. Samurais are a staple of Japanese culture, and have an air of mystery and mythos around them that keep them interesting and relevant in a modern world.

Why doesn't Samurai Defender work, then?

Aesthetically, it is charming enough. Bright colours target the younger install base on the 3DS, and the crisp art style can be appreciated by older gamers.

Its biggest, and perhaps only, strength is in the art department. The sprite work is incredibly well done and lively without succumbing to the blatant retrofication that several indie and iOS games end up being victim to, and the movements and actions on screen are surprisingly fluid - something the gameplay sorely lacks.

Fluidity in a game is almost always crucial for a good experience to be had. The flow needs to keep moving, and it needs to engage users in a way that allows them to feel they are constantly doing something that matters. With the touch screen and stylus, this should be a simple enough task.

Screenshot for Samurai Defender on Nintendo 3DS

The core gameplay in Samurai Defenders consists of pointing at enemies for the samurai to shoot at and kill before they begin to deal damage to the tower/palace/etc. As progress is made, certain skills and new characters can be unlocked to fortify the base and add some variety, but nothing really ever truly changes or feels good.

Using the stylus is surprisingly sluggish and lacking in satisfaction. There is an odd weight to it that deliberately slows down the pacing. Increasing the speed stat is possible by spending in-game currency on it, but the progression is so slow that it takes several levels before a meaningful change occurs.

Samurai Defender's biggest flaw is how static and uninspired it is. From start to finish, it feels the same. The last stage plays just like the first, but without any of the initial novelty found when booting up the game. It tries to hook a player in with customisation and a rank system, but it's all so pitifully underdeveloped and uninspired that it can be safely assumed that half of the mechanics were included simply because other games have them.

Screenshot for Samurai Defender on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 4 out of 10


Samurai Defender is not worth buying, especially not on the 3DS where it has a $3.99 price tag. Perhaps for 99 cents (or nothing at all, for that matter) it could actually be a worthwhile, yet tedious, distraction. It simply falls short of everything it tries to accomplish. As a tower defence title, it's sluggish and lifeless. As a samurai game, well, the samurai part is just a skin - there's really nothing samurai about it. For $3.99, there are far better games on the eShop that actually have effort and care put into them.


Link Kit







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date None   


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