Sayaka Steam Pile Review
Sayaka’s best is not good enough
Sayaka, according to developer RyuVsCloud, “is one of the best professional assassins in china.” So, what features would you expect in a 2D sidescroller following her exploits? Slick, stylish graphics? Free-flowing combat and platforming? A throwaway storyline that nevertheless embodies the spirit of exploitative films, and doesn’t rely on splurges of ellipses in a meager attempt to build suspense? Well, you get none of that in Sayaka.
All of the game’s flaws would contribute to a professional assassin’s early death. In the seconds it takes Sayaka to swing or thrust one of her swords, enemies surround her. They also have the unfair advantage of projectiles. Sayaka, on the other hand, can use a Ninja Gaiden-esque Jitsu move that looks cool in theory yet fails in application. Thankfully, Sayaka can block projectiles, but sometimes they pass through her defense anyway. Likewise, Sayaka’s swords often pass through enemies as if they were ghosts, leaving her exposed. Getting through a level in Sayaka feels like trudging through mud, and the strategies you develop through trial and error might fail anyway.
What kills me is that the bosses can switch between melee and projectile weapons seamlessly. Throughout my time with Sayaka – I could only stand playing two levels – I couldn’t help but wonder why the best assassin in the biz couldn’t do the same. Also, God help you if you decide to play the game using a keyboard because there’s no key binding. At least then you’ll have a chance to live the life of an assassin learning to cope with carpal tunnel syndrome.
I could elaborate further on the cumbersome mechanics, but it doesn’t matter. Sayaka feels rushed, and you can tell by the technical issues and lack of artistic cohesion. The techno grates the eardrums as if they were blocks of cheese, and the city lights are as murky as palettes from a recent art class. Enemies seem stuck to the top of the screen, and Sayaka can mistakenly face the player and swing her sword in the same direction. It’s almost as if the character has become so self-aware that even she wants to break free from her own game. Having played two levels, I can relate.
“All of the game’s flaws would contribute to a professional assassin’s early death.”