Jitsu Squad by developers Tanuki Creative aims to remind gamers of the pure joy involved in moving to the right of the screen and punching everything in your way, does it successfully manage this? Let’s find out!.
As mentioned, Jitsu Squad is a side-scrolling beat ’em up in the vein of Streets of Rage, Scott Pilgrim and Double Dragon, only we have animals, violent animals and interplanetary exploration.
Visually Jitsu Squad is amongst the greats of the genre, it just oozes charm with its vibrant colours and over the top “Saturday morning cartoon” art style.
Characters are over the top stereotypes and have very detailed animation going on with expersionate body language and facials, they also go up in a pleasing red mist when they meet the business end of your sword.
Stages are all brilliantly drawn and draw upon just about every cliché of the genre, you’ve got the arcade, the elevator section, city streets, volcanoes, and woodlands all the usuals of the genre are here represented brilliantly.
The game features 4 playable characters, a heroic racoon, a cute but deadly bunny, a strong as all heck Warthog and a Mage Frog, an eclectic mix designed to take down an evil Sorcerer and look good doing it.
It also helps when you have 4 characters that Jitsu Squad offers 4 Player Co-op alongside a tag team mode allowing you to switch between the characters at a button press.
One of the key points in the press release for Jitsu Squad is that it aims to match the intensity of titles such as Guilty Gear and Marvel Vs Capcom while maintaining the pick-up play accessibility of the brawling genre.
Combos initially start with just pressing attack in quick succession or timing presses, as you progress you’ll pick up scrolls which unlock special moves, add these in usually fighting game style inputs and it opens combo potential massively.
You also pick up Subweapons which have different properties such as a flame sword or electric sword, couple this with the combos and the ability to juggle and your game starts to look like a chaotic Crossover Fighting game.
You also have Summons you can find including one of Maximilian D00d and his sidekick Benny who never failed to get a smile from me. Finally there is a parry button which creates almost Street Fighter 3rd Strike style comebacks and ways of getting out of attacks and sending a reply.
While I don’t think Jitsu Squad will convert anyone who isn’t a fan of the genre, it does hold quite a lofty position in its quality and how fun it is. The last few levels, especially on tougher difficulties, can infuriate but they don’t sour the overall experience.
If you want a smooth brawler with intuitive controls that reward familiarity with the genre and a feel-good inspired time, I would highly recommend Jitsu Squad, even for the Surfing song alone.
One of the most fun titles of the genre. Grab your squad and throw down!
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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.