One Strike Title

In theory, this should be a relatively short review as One Strike is a relatively short game. It’s been on my watchlist for some time as it’s been consistently cheap. Should I have some shrapnel tucked away, I’d snap it up. Finally, the wait is over, and I purchased it.

One Strike is published by Qubic Games. I’d link to the developer’s site, Retro Reactor, the site isn’t up-to-date, but their Facebook page is. However, I encourage you to read this review, or don’t and just buy the game as is – it’s dirt cheap.

Let me go on record and say that I hated the graphics. I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon and put my underwear on my head shouting to the crowds how beautiful this is. It isn’t. It’s an 8-bit aesthetic and the year is 2019. One Strike isn’t a game from yesteryear, so why display in this way? The answer: it doesn’t matter. The game is a hell of a lot of fun. Also, I slowly warmed to the graphics. They have a certain je ne sais quoi. That’s French for I don’t have anything pithy to add.

The start of a match 'Strike or Die' across the screen as you begin
There’s not much room for alternatives

Scrooge McDuck, Is Not Unlockable

The motivation for this purchase wasn’t the price. Well, it was to some extent. I can’t recall the price, even though it was a week ago and the Nintendo eShop doesn’t state the amount once you’ve purchased it. It was cheap – that’s the point. No, the real motivation for this game was whether it could out-do Kiai Resonance.

As you have so clearly read my review on the above, you’ll note that I geeked out a little on the mechanics – thinking it would be a true reflection of the samurai duel: precisely timed and perfectly executed. Regrettably, the controls didn’t work for me, but the visuals were brilliant. One Strike is the opposite; it took time to convert me on the appearance of the game, but the controls are spot-on for the type of play.

Y’see, this is a one-hit, insta-kill beat ’em up – much like Qubic Games’ other excellent slasher, Akane. There is zero story, it’s merely a case of choosing one of seven characters to pick off one another. In the same mould as Kiai Resonance, your characters can’t jump. I’m over that now and welcome this decision. Secondly, one hit will kill either you or your opponent, and it’s game over without a continue. There is only a small roster though, so chances are, you’ll work your way back up.

Character selection - 7 to choose from
Seven to choose from or will you play the deadly punctuation?

Precision Blade Technology

Unlike Kiai Resonance, there are no stances, so you only have the one attack move, block and dash. Dash is useful for getting in quick, but I wouldn’t encourage this as a strategy as you will come unstuck. You don’t have a variation of stances, but when you do make the decision to attack, your character stays in the attack pose. You can’t move forward, so have to rely your opponent to walk forward or slip on a banana skin clumsily.

At first, I’m going to bring this up again, I thought the graphics were crude, but I got used to them. There are no expressions on each character’s face, but each one is entirely different from the other – first in appearance and second in behaviour. I didn’t think I’d play this long, to be honest, and chose the first character named Kenji. He’s a typical samurai and predictable. I went through a couple of rounds until I got to Hangaku who wields a kusarigama (those unfamiliar with ninja or Nioh will note that it’s a chain with a weight one end and a sickle type blade on the other) and she beat me immediately.

It can happen – it is a one-hit game, but the character movement was different, and when she spun the chain, it threw me off. I then went through each character to find our their quirks. Hinode, the ninja, was pretty cool, but eventually, I moved on to Oni who sports a tetsubō. This is a massive rod (heh heh) only a giant can wield. It doesn’t really matter how powerful the weapon is, but subconsciously, I thought I was the mutts and was smashing the puny humans to Jigoku, or Croydon if UK based.

Oni defeats his opponent in One Strike
There’s only one, Oni

Give Me Something to Work With

Working out the maths (seven characters on the roster, no boss), this is a short game, right? Yep. It’s over as fast as a Lepus in mating season. Fear not, as there are plenty of level choices which make the game pretty hard. There’s also Tournament (a little annoying if you’re not playing), and Team Duel – choose three players against a further three which is played out like a knockout – when one dies, then next in line replaces them.

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime you better…


Another mode included, and this is one I liked, was the Arcade mode. Arcade is the same as the main mode One Life – but this time you have five lives. This is perfect to learn your chosen character. As I said, I used Oni to cheese it a little, but to be honest, I think Hangaku is my favourite. Just swinging the chain around looks like you know what you’re doing (even when you’re winging it).

At the end of each playthrough, pending you lived, you get a summary of your achievement on who you defeated and the level you completed it at. Thankfully no one will see me play this game and I’m not going to post an image of me not finishing the hardest mode. There’s a 50/50 chance you’ll win any match, but the harder difficulty does feel very different. I’m simply not that good a gamer.

One Strike end image - you conquered Japan
Next up, France

And We’re At That Part Of The Review

Depending on when you’re reading this, I’ll either have a scoring system or it will be without one, which is what the current status is when I write this (22:29). Scores are always subjective, and you may or may not agree with them. Instead, I’ll aim to cover with a description of the game and my opinion. If necessary.

With One Strike, I genuinely thought it would be done and dusted in 15 minutes tops. But, like yesterday’s review of Skyhill, I was impressed with how much fun it was and also how much time I was investing. Bear in mind this isn’t a game you’ll be playing to unlock all the characters and cutscenes – it’s not that type of game. I have seen however that DLC is being developed, so who knows where that takes the game. For the time being, this is a refreshing take on the beat ’em up, and from my stance (non-samurai), this beats Kiai Resonance.

Disclaimer: I used to wield a sword (legally!) through the martial art iaido, so I know what I’m talking about. Was I any good? Nope. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is this game is super cheap and well worth it. I buy my games, like you, so all the blood, sweat and tears are on my part, and in the event, I can’t pay my internet bill this month, you know where I’ve been spending. Games off the Nintendo eShop and retro games, if you’ve seen my Instagram feed.


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