I have been waiting a very long time to play a 2D beat-em-up platformer like Sokaikan’s “Okinawa Rush“, because truth be told. I have seen a lot of pure rubbish titles of its kind over the years. However, that is not the case with “Okinawa Rush” (if you haven’t guessed it yet, the game takes plays in an alternative reality in Okinawa, Japan), and funny enough. I couldn’t help myself from smiling while playing the game either. You see, before the game kicks-off you get to pick one out of eight different difficulty levels (each difficulty level is based on Karate belt colors), and everything after the green belt (which is difficulty level 4) requires quite a lot of skill to handle. I love that though, because I’m up for the challenge.

okinawa rush characters

These are some of the characters that you will see in the beta demo of “Okinawa Rush”, you can only play as Hiro in the demo though.

However, the funny part would be that if you pick the white belt (level one), then the game will start mocking you for being such a wimp (a chicken will be shown on your screen, and there will be chicken sounds in the background), and that particular aspect of the game made me think about that one “game journalist” who had a lot of problems finishing the tutorial for “Cup Head” (thus my joke about in our gameplay video for “Okinawa Rush”).

okinawa rush die by the sword

Trust me when I say this, “Okinawa Rush” is a very violent and gruesome 2D beat-em-up game (think “Shadow Warrior” goes 2D platformer). However, since I love content of that kind, I welcome it with open arms.

Anyways, I had to learn the hard way that “Okinawa Rush” is the kind of game that will smash your head in if you don’t master the game like a martial arts god. My point would be that it’s a very wise idea to take your time to learn your character inside and out (I spent a lot of time in the dojo, learning combos, special attacks and whatnot), because on the higher difficulty levels, there will be no mercy at all if you mess up.  In a way, this made me think about how hard you had to train in fighting games like “Tekken“, “Street Fighter 2” and “Mortal Kombat” if you played through the game on the harder difficulty levels. Well, that’s how it is in “Okinawa Rush” (git gud or git rekt!).

okinawa rush sunset dojo

Believe it or not, but you can actually build and manage your very own dojo in “Okinawa Rush”. Furthermore, you can train your character in a handful of different ways as well (that will help your character to level up in various kinds of ways).

So all in all, I think I spent about eight or ten hours in total playing through the beta demo of  “Okinawa Rush”, and I could really tell the difference between the noob me and the more skilled me when I watched through the video footage that I had recorded for my gameplay videos (you will understand what I mean when you watch my gameplay video of “Okinawa Rush”). In other words, it truly pays off to train hard in the game’s dojo, and to upgrade your character (in the demo you play as Hiro, a Karate master who wants to take out revenge on the Black Mantis clan that killed his wife and kidnapped his children). Especially if you intend to finish off the demo beyond the green belt difficulty level (I did try to play through the game on the black belt level, but I need some more training before I’m going to be able to pull that one-off).

okinawa rush sunset dojo boss fight

The boss fights are pretty darn impressive I have to say (the red ninja in this picture is a mini boss though).

In the matter of fact, some characters can actually kill you off with one single special attack (there are mini bosses and more difficult enemies that can pull that attack off). So you really have to pay very close attention to which enemies that you got on your screen at the moment (a fair warning, ninjas can teleport themselves all over the screen, so don’t ever let your guard down!). However, since there is a handful of different weapons that you could use against your foes (like katanas and sticks), you’re never defenseless. Furthermore, Hiro (the main character of the game) can deliver some really deadly special attacks as well (that includes everything from throwing fire balls to releasing a power wave that kills everything on the screen).

okinawa rush the shop

“Okinawa Rush” is a much deeper game than it looks like, because not only can you train and upgrade your character. You can also buy a lot of stuff as well (for either your character or your dojo).

So “if” you learn how to master your character (in this case, Hiro), then you can chop through waves of enemies just like Lo Wang does in the “Shadow Warrior” series (then you have earned the right to scream out “Who wants some Hiro!” by the top of your lungs). That’s also the reason why I can’t wait to play the full version of “Okinawa Rush”, because if the beta demo is this awesome, then I bet that the final version will be even better. So if you like the thought of playing a 2D 16-bit martial arts platformer that’s like a mix of “Double Dragon“, “First Samurai”, “Best of the best”, “Shadow Warrior” and “Mortal Kombat“. Then you probably don’t want to miss out on the beta demo for “Okinawa Rush”.

+ Beautiful 16-bit retro graphics and a freaking awesome soundtrack
+ Plenty of different attacks and combos
+ There is a handful of weapons that you could use
+ You can train and upgrade your characters (s)
+ It’s fun as hell to trash everything that comes in your way
+ Amiga vibes
+ Intense boss fights
+ Tons of content and game modes to enjoy
+ There will be three playable characters in the full version of the game

– Control bugs (the controls could be changed without your permission)
– Sometimes your hits don’t count as a hit (bug)
– Screen size problems while recording (I had to fool around a whole lot before I could even record the game…)

Gameplay: 5/5
Graphics: 4/5
Sound/music: 4/5
Controls: 4/5
Replay value: 5/5

tgg grade 4.5 out of 5

Verdict: 4.5/5
“Okinawa Rush” feels, looks and sounds like a mix of “Best of the best”, “Double Dragon”, “First Samurai”. “Shadow Warrior” and “Mortal Kombat”. Simply put, it’s one hell of a fun 2D 16-bit martial arts platformer. So even though the beta demo suffered from some technical issues, that still don’t stop “Okinawa Rush” from being one of the very best beat-em-up/platforming titles on the market.

Title: Okinawa Rush
Developer: Sokaikan
Format: PC
Genre: Action platformer
Resolution: Highest possible on PC
Release date: 2017-12-XX
Difficulty: Hard
Spent time: +6 hours
Average grade internationally: XXX
PEGI age rating: +12
Price: TBA

tgg author avatar robin ek
Robin “V-Act” Ek
Editor in chief
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @TheGamingGround

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