Ganryu 2 review – Hakuma Kojiro via

Nowadays, the demands of players are that publishers have to adapt and offer a wide variety of experiences, combining action, puzzles and exploration. Thus we see an increase in adventures looking in all directions (at the risk of sometimes staying on top) and the indie scene is often the one focusing on one genre to get the best out of it. With Ganryu 2, Storybird Studio immerses us in the world of beat’em by delivering a sequel to the eponymous game released by arcades and Neo Geo. A great old fashioned action game set against a backdrop of Japanese legend!

Inspired by the fictionalized life of Takezo Shinmen, aka Musashi Miyamoto, Ganryu 2 – Hakuma Kojiro is set in 17th century feudal Japan. Taking place at different times of the year (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter), the game features one of the archipelago’s emblematic figures. Living from 1584 to 1645, this man – considered the most famous fencer in the country’s history – made a legend by delivering a legendary duel against Kojiro Sasaki on the island of Funa. This mythical fight continues to feed into stories related to the founding of Japan and with all this mythology the Storybird title is filled.


Ganryu 2: A compelling and complete homage to the Shinobi

After his victorious confrontation against Kojiro Sasaki, Musashi Miyamoto decided to retire after a busy life on the battlefields. To meditate and try his hand at art and calligraphy, he settled in the province of Hokkaido, in northern Japan. One day, while he was in the middle of a medication session, the character was struck by a vision. His lifelong enemy, Kojiro Sasaki, reappears as a spirit and demands revenge! Knowing that great danger was approaching, Musashi Miyamoto withdrew his saber and fought the demons of the entity to reach the island of Ganryu-Jima to defeat once and for all, Kojiro, what everyone called… Ganryu!

Ganryu 2: A compelling and complete homage to the ShinobiGanryu 2: A compelling and complete homage to the Shinobi

Like the original, Ganryu 2 is a straight-to-the-point title. A mix between Shinobi and Ninja Spirit, the title alternates between action and platform. The avatar can kick, throw his kunaïs or cut enemies while running. Movement wise, maybe because of his yesterday, Musashi can only do double jump and wall jump. This sequel to Ganryu therefore fully claims his legacy without trying to change the formula: we tap, we advance, we tap, we advance, and so on. To diversify progress, the swordsman still has access to special powers that can be activated when the energy bar fills up. The set seemed a little strict at first, but we got caught up in the game and the realization turned out right. But the difficulty, poor dose, can be stopped …


Ganryu 2 is a job with nothing left and that also forces you to eliminate the lack of accuracy. Hitboxes (or collision masks, in other words the sensitive area of ​​the enemy) are not always clear and it happens that small slowdowns come to damage the hero’s progress. If we combine it with the challenge of a few stages (mine barrels, some bosses, the sudden rise in temperature to level 4, etc.), the Storybird game quickly becomes a title. hardcore to be tamed only by the most daring and nostalgic without having difficulty immersing themselves in the feeling of the 1990s. A fix to bring a choice of difficulty is not a bad idea, because the graphics are very good, the animation is successful and the atmosphere is, in general, very immersive. The atmosphere of the music, with its very Japanese tones, also brings a lot to the experience. But obviously one option for new players, is just to integrate waypoints into levels, not so much. It’s only at this “price” that all players can enjoy 5 levels in Ganryu 2, even if all the courses aren’t as inspired. The most resistant in any case will be happy to collect as many hidden Hanafuda cards before restarting the level to improve their run. But you have to get Ganryu 2 for what it is, which is a work that breathes in the 1990s and that has become pretty generic in terms of development and design level.

Ganryu 2: A compelling and complete homage to the ShinobiGanryu 2: A compelling and complete homage to the Shinobi


Strong points

  • A ninja in action!
  • Very different environment
  • An interesting arcade approach
  • The quality soundtrack

Weak points

  • Loss of crossing points (checkpoints)
  • Accuracy issues
  • Some slowdown
  • Pretty flat level
  • Behavior lacks flexibility
  • There is no difficulty in choosing

Released in 1999, Ganryu is not a game that has made media history, but it has a fun vibe and action to it. This series follows in the footsteps of its age without attempting to modernize the formula, which seems to be out of step with today’s expectations. If not a bad bugger, Ganryu 2 suffers from an unbalanced difficulty that reserves it for genre specialists and lovers of a challenge. The loss of a checkpoint (passage point) is damaging and forces the player to get out of easily annoying concerns about accuracy. Thus we constantly oscillate between the joy of progress and the failure to start again on the whole level of each failure. It’s a shame because the realization, though not always inspired, is just right. A small patch will shape the experience, but as it stands, the overall is much more perfect.

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