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Zen Warrior Review

By , on November 8, 2011

Zen Warrior
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5


  • A satisfying crunch upon every landed blow.
  • Nice environments.


  • Low attacks are essentially an 'I win' button.
  • No variety between opponents.


Zen Warrior has the beginnings of a fun fighting game for the iPhone but needs some more variety in the move-set and the characters to really shine.

  • Full Review
  • App Store Info

Players tend to expect a lot from fighting games. An eclectic cast of characters with interesting move-sets, good balance in pairings, and a variety of interesting locations to spar in. Zen Warrior gets the last one right but falls a little short in other respects.

You play as Kuma, a karate fighter looking to discover himself and further the study of his art. In stage after stage you take on different fighters in a 'best out of three matches' scenario before moving onto the next. The first problem arises in that you and every opponent you face have the exact same move-set. This lack of variety's one saving grace is that this move-set is pretty nice. You control movement with the analog stick, and use a combination of the stick and the punch and kick buttons to unleash different karate blows. For instance holding back and pressing kick will unleash a roundhouse, down-forward and punch, a kneeling punch... and so forth. Each successful attack is met with a very satisfying crunch, and it makes the combat feel visceral, even if the same sound effect for both stronger and weaker attacks can get kind of silly.

While the models and animations are sort of stiff, everything is nicely rendered and lit, from the characters to the environments to the weather effects in some stages. The soundtrack fits the mood of the game nicely, and as mentioned before, the sound effects are satisfying.

In the intro of this review, balance was brought up. This is the main failing of Zen Warrior. It doesn't take long to realize that most of the low attacks are essentially an 'I win' button, and fights devolve into who can hit with the low sweep and continue spamming it first. With a little more variety between the moves and the characters, and with the addition of multiplayer, Zen Warrior could be a solid fighting game contender in the app store.


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