Four anthropomorphic characters each wielding different weapons must thwart an evil power from causing chaos to the world. No, this isn’t a TMNT game, but Jitsu Squad is still a decently fun mindless brawler if you have a local co-op partner or two by your side.
The initial stand-out feature is easily the vividly colored cartoony visuals, essentially becoming a Saturday morning cartoon albeit a little bloodier. This smooth animation is complimented by the fast, heavy guitar riffs of the non-stop soundtrack. It is a fun looking game, one that looks nice in screenshot or video format.
This is an action packed beat’em up brawler. Unfortunately, even with the game’s shorter length, repetition sets in quickly. By the end of the first non-tutorial stage, you will have defeated hundreds of the same exact enemy. They are not even palette swapped. As a quick comparison, TMNT Shredder’s Revenge at least had different colored foot soldiers on top of different enemy types. Here, you just fight the same throngs of the same enemy in each stage. Without variety, the overall experience is little more than button mashing for most of the journey.
There is an attempt to not make this brawler a constant attack-attack-attack combo generator but doesn’t fully hit the mark. Instead of just tapping the attack button as fast as possible, the game encourages you to wait about one second in between presses to increase the strength of each blow. However, waiting leaves you open to attack so you will often be kicked out of your combo by an enemy’s pincer strike. In time, each player will unlock new Street Fighter-like super moves but these mostly unlock towards the end of the game. With a title that has a shorter run time, it might have been better to just give the player the full repertoire of moves from the start.
The dash and parry system does add another welcomed layer to the heated combat. Since the screen can be filled with dozens at enemies at any time, the player can feel like a badass with proper crowd control techniques. Attacking, dodging, then executing a well-timed parry attack when outnumbered is undoubtedly satisfying. Bosses, and their screen-filling size, often realize these typical attack-dodge-parry maneuvers so they employ cheaper attack patterns against the player. While not as annoying when playing co-op, bosses can be a little cheesy.
This brawler was also designed around co-op but sadly is restricted to local-only. Perhaps I am just spoiled from drop in/out gameplay of Shredder’s Revenge but it is still unfortunate that I will most likely never be able to experience this game how it was meant to be played – 4 player co-op.
While not the best brawler ever made, Jitsu Squad is still a fun retro experience made new despite the repetition and flaws. The lack of replay value and online support is disappointing, but the mindless beat’em up gameplay can offer a few hours of fun especially if you can find a local co-op buddy or three.
Also Play: Fight’N Rage
Don’t Forget About: TMNT Shredder’s Revenge
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By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com
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