Okinawa Rush (Switch)

Okinawa Rush is the latest 2D title published by the masters of the lookback at PixelHeart and developed by Sokaikan Studios, worth rushing out for or is it OkiNoWai?

Okinawa Rush lets you pick one of 3 characters, Hiro, Meilin or Shin as their village is under siege by the Black Mantis Clan, Hiro’s family are kidnapped and killed and the villagers are held hostage too so there is that revenge aspect as well. 

The story is ok, nothing to get invested in and the Developers knew this as they included an “Arcade” mode which along with other score attack based tweaks does away with the cutscenes and lets you jump straight in.

Visually Okinawa Rush is what I would personally describe as a top tier 2D pixel graphic experience married with the visual clutter of Euro-Amiga Jank or condensed down to absolutely my jam. 

Enemies litter the screen, various jewels, coins, scrolls and bits of fruit fly from them as copiously as blood and the game just smacks of that glorious arcade 16-bit era. 

The animations are brilliant, especially the different ways characters can die which can be quite graphic, rather than just disappear some will explode into gibs and if you use a Katana you’ll see some rather unique death animations, it’s like a platforming Mortal Kombat only good!.

Visually the music is good but nothing really to stand out, beats to beat foes up to, sound effects sound really good and again embrace the somewhat Amiga heritage I get from this title.

There is also voice acting for the cutscenes which I didn’t expect, tasty bonus but not exactly MGS levels of quality. 

Okinawa Rush is a 2D Action Platformer that has exploration and runs and gun DNA, its 90s gaming condensed into one little kickass package and you can see why PixelHeart has published this alongside their other titles. 

The game is made up of directional inputs, a jump button and an attack button, there are fighting game style inputs for different moves, 3rd Strike style parrying and weapons you can find to dish out the pain also. 

The levels are huge and promote exploration with treasure, 1ups and even more foes to fight, there are plenty of secrets activated in different ways such as lighting candles or smashing walls, so many there are still some I can’t quite figure out. 

The combat is buttery smooth and the fighting game inputs are simple enough to pull off, it’s beautifully visceral and never gets repetitive which is good considering how often you do it, nothing quite beats clearing a room with a mix of Karate, weapons, special techniques and even environmental attacks, true Kung-Fu Glory.

The levels and movement again embrace that Euro/Amiga style and what I mean that is the controls are floaty and the levels are large and massive explorable, this game reminded me of The First Samurai which is in every way a great thing and intentional or not it made me fall in love with this game in a big way.

Sadly not everything is gold here with Okinawa Rush and there are a few issues I’d like to make readers aware of before they throw their hard-earned money down. 

5 levels on offer, the levels may be massive and explorable but there is sadly only 5 of them and by the time you’ve hit your stride you are watching 1 of 3 characters endings, yes there are 3 endings for each of the characters so plenty of replayability.

The menu system kind of bombards you with many, many options especially in Story mode which has merchants, training and Dojo building which adds more to replayability and content to do but feels very poorly implemented and almost chaotic in the way it’s provided to the players. 

The game is wild in its difficulty, sometimes you’ll just storm through the stage parrying everything and genuinely just winning, then you’ll hit a boss or room where the enemies get the drop on you and you’ll just watch your health bar just deplete. This was known due to the sheer amount of 1ups you can find in the levels.

Despite everything I adore Okinawa Rush, it reminds me so much of some of my favourite games from my childhood, is an utter joy to play and the arcade mode means I can get to the meat of the product while ignoring the bulk, bravo for that feature!.

If you love classic games, Karate action and have a passion for that tasty Euro Jank that the Amiga and 16-bit consoles embraced you’ll be like me and fall in love with Okinawa Rush.



Okinawa Rush is the kind of title which cults would have formed around in the 16-Bit era. Join us!

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Straight from the streets of SouthTown, all Dunks Powah'd and ready to Bust A Wolf. Catch me on Twitch/YouTube.

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