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SNK’s Samurai Shodown Mobile: A Solid Conversion with Room for Improvement

In Samurai Shodown, SNK delivers a reboot of its popular fighting game series for mobile platforms. Previously released on various consoles and PC, the mobile version brings the intense dueling gameplay, unique characters, and striking aesthetic to iOS and Android users. However, while Samurai Shodown proves to be an enjoyable experience overall, it does have some shortcomings that prevent it from reaching its full potential.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Samurai Shodown offers a different style of gameplay compared to mainstream fighting games. It emphasizes weapon-based combat, footsies, and high-risk gameplay mechanics. This reboot stays true to the series' roots, maintaining its own unique character and charm. However, it has always struggled with online and story modes, and unfortunately, this issue persists in the mobile version as well.

Visually, Samurai Shodown on mobile is not up to the same standard as its console counterparts. While it is not as bad as the Nintendo Switch version, it falls short of the expected performance on newer iOS devices. Additionally, playing with touch controls may affect the experience, especially for special moves and combos. The absence of controller support as an option is also disappointing for players who prefer traditional controls in a fighting game.

One major concern surrounding the mobile version is the lack of included DLC characters and collaborations. Not only are the DLC characters absent, but collaboration characters such as Baiken from Guilty Gear are also missing. The current character selection screen indicates that some DLC characters may not be available until July 2024. While the desire to keep players subscribed to Netflix Games may be a factor, this extended release schedule is questionable.

Despite these issues, Samurai Shodown on Netflix is not without its merits. The touch controls, although not as precise as traditional controls, have been well-implemented. The netcode for online matches holds up reasonably well, although it falls short of other popular fighting games like Street Fighter 6 or Guilty Gear Strive. The game also features leaderboards and a decent custom lobby system.

In terms of platform differences, the Xbox Series X version for TV play and the Steam Deck version for portable play are considered the best options. The Xbox Series X version supports 120Hz, providing a smoother gaming experience not found in the PC version. The PS4 version lacks enhancements for PS5, leading many players to switch to the Xbox version for offline play. As for the Switch version, it is only recommended if no other option is available and online play is not a priority.

Overall, the mobile version of Samurai Shodown is a solid addition to Netflix's gaming catalog. While it may not offer the same experience as the console versions, it still performs better than the Switch port. It is worth downloading to give the touch controls a try, but players may hope for future updates that address the lack of controller support and improve the DLC situation. Despite its flaws, Samurai Shodown remains an impressive fighting game that deserves better in its mobile release.

– TouchArcade.