- No real entry level beyond basic rhythm skills; tap when orbs are blue, tap after to attack - rinse, repeat, move on.
- Neat visual style; Pixar meets Disney's Mulan.
- Most motivating aspects outside of the most basic of dangling carrots ('what happens at the end?') are missing from Karateka; overly simplistic gameplay and lacking in a narrative with hooks.
Karateka fails to excite as it expects players to enjoy short and repetitive bouts of tapping without any real input in to the outcome of each fight beyond their skill at 'timing' - you could save Mariko three times, but saving her once proves to be once too many times already.
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Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and accept that even heroes can make mistakes. Some would argue that Jordan Mechner has made several in his time, but the remake of Karateka (his break-out title from 1984) is definitely amongst them.
Where the original was a relatively simple affair of fighting opponent after opponent using a joystick and two (or one) button setup. The game was praised for its fluid combat and clever use of tension to motivate players to save Mariko - it was short, but a unique beast for its time.
Fast forward to 2012 and the remake drops on the iOS platform, complete with 3D environments that pop with life. If only the gameplay itself recieved as much attention as the visuals things may have turned out differently.
Unfortunately players have a simplified rhythm-game like system of 'tap' to block and 'tap' to attack. Enemies may mix up their rhythm to throw off the player, but between earning 'ki stun attacks' and having two other characters in reserve to complete the game from where you left off... well it's a short and unfulfilling 30 minutes to the end of the game.
Much like the original release, the iOS version attempts to build its tension through cutscenes, however with the risks of combat being entirely negated by the regular appearance of health-restoring flowers, you know it's only a matter of time (and not skill) before the game ends.
It'd be easier to forgive if the story had more impact beyond three moderately interesting motivations, but without any sense of arc or challenge to overcome, your reward is a hollow one.
There's nothing functionally wrong with Karateka, and recent updates have addressed some stability issues, but being playable and being enjoyable to play aren't mutually exclusive and sadly the latter is missing from this nostalgia driven remake.
Description*IMPORTANT* Karateka requires iPhone 4S or newer, iPad 2 or newer, or 5th-gen iPod Touch. "Instantly, addictively fun" -MacLife
Karateka will charm you with its classic love story set in feudal Japan. Fight to save the lovely Mariko from the evil warlord Akuma and reunite her with her True Love!
"For those who remember the original, the new Karateka must not be missed. And to those with no prior knowledge: you have a excellent, new experience in store." -Touch Arcade (4.5 stars)
"With a stunning makeover and simplistic but compelling action, this terrific update brings Karateka into the 21st century in style." -Cnet
From PRINCE OF PERSIA creator Jordan Mechner, the original side-scrolling karate classic comes to new life on iPad and iPhone with art by Jeff Matsuda (The Batman) and music by Grammy-winning composer Christopher Tin (Civilization IV).
Easy to grasp yet challenging to master, the rhythm-based karate combat tells a simple human story. Three suitors vie to save Mariko: A fearsome Brute, a noble Monk, and her brave True Love.
"A brilliant life system that delivers variety in the gameplay as well as incredible replay value; you won't want to stop playing until you rescue Mariko as her True Love and see the storybook ending." - Touch Arcade
PUNCH THE HAWK!
"Fun for those of us who played the original on an Apple II, Commodore 64, or even an NES, but younger gamers will still appreciate the unique style and easy-to-learn gameplay." -ArsTechnica
"Karateka is widely considered to be one of the greatest 8-bit home computer games ever created. It wasn't a game so much as a living story that you, the player, were a part of... The new Karateka legitimately feels like it might be what Mechner's original idea would have been, if then were now." - Touch Arcade
*IMPORTANT* Karateka requires iPhone 4S or newer, iPad 2 or newer, or iPod Touch (5th generation). Karateka does NOT support earlier devices such as iPad 1, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3GS.