Ganryu 2 follows the formula of a classic arcade platformer. You play as Miyamoto Musashi, the renowned swordsman, as he fights against hordes of demons. Apparently Sasaki Kojiro, a foe you previous defeated, has refused to die and instead, sold his soul to demons in a last ditch, Hail Mary to get his revenge on you and now all of Japan is at risk from the demon army.
The game is old school arcade action through and through. Musashi has at his disposal a slash attack, a kunai throw, a double jump and a dash, a special Kami attack once the meter is full. The game moves at a slower pace than I was used to but you still have to be methodical with your movements. Enemies will spawn out of nowhere and you will have to be quick enough to dodge their attacks and make quick work of them in order to move on.
I will make a note here, I am playing on keyboard and the default keybinds are some of the most uncomfortable I’ve ever used. Slash is bound to ‘S’, dash is bound to ‘F’, and the kunai throw is bound to ‘Y’. It’s a really uncomfortable position for your left hand to take. I mean the Kami move is bound to ‘B’, you would have to be an octopus to be able to use the default keybinds comfortably. I was playing the version before full release and it would not let you rebind your keys so hopefully that feature is added soon.
Keybinds aside, the game feels really satisfying to play. When you first start, the game is pretty challenging and you’ll die a bunch of times. However, the more you play, the better you will become at the game. The game’s difficulty mainly comes from memorizing enemy spawns and boss attack patterns and not necessarily the need for a fast reaction time since things move pretty slowly in the game. Once you start to get familiar with the levels, you start to perform much better.
The game opens up after you memorize the levels and you’ll have more freedom in how to move, attack, and approach situations. For example, there are points in Stage 1 where multiple shuriken throwing ninjas spawn. You can crouch or jump above the attacks and use your slash to make short work of them or quickly toss your kunai left and right to defeat them from long range. You have more options once you learn the enemy spawns.
Another example is the final boss in Stage 1, a demon posing as Otsu. At first, I thought this boss was incredibly difficult and would panic every time it attacked. However, after careful observation, you could break down its attacks into three patterns. After that, it was a cake walk to beat the boss (mostly).
The game is brutally difficult in scoring however. Every time you die, your points get reset to zero, you lose all your items and Kami meter charge, and you start at the last check point. It’s not an easy game to score points in and that’s why it’s also incredibly satisfying when you do make the perfect run and score a lot of points.
Overall, Ganryu 2 is classic arcade action through and through. It looks, sounds, and feels like a classic arcade platformer. It’s pretty fun and challenging but not too difficult as most of the challenge lies in memorizing the levels and attack patterns. All the game needs is for the ability to rebind keys! Please, think of us non octopi and give us more realistically spaced keys!