Within the new age of gaming, where delicate ray tracing and haptic feedback is the norm, it’s refreshing to occasionally visit an old school-styled pixel game for some button bashing. One nostalgia trip comes courtesy of Sokaikan Limited and No Gravity Games’ Okinawa Rush, which emulates beat ‘em up platforming from another era. The title is currently in development but it is expected to release in the third quarter of this year.

This martial arts-based title mimics classic, 90s-styled pixel art from the SNES era, pitting the masters Hiro, Meilin, or Shin against the Black Mantis clan. The skills of the three heroes may be enough to rival the Kung Fu abilities of Marvel’s Shang-Chi, but Okinawa Rush has the bonus of its vintage aesthetic. The game’s Japanese roots add flavor to combat locations and the various characters on call within the narrative appear intriguing with rich backstories. Furthermore, Okinawa Rush has been loosely compared to the 1991 title First Samurai, highlighting it as a modern spiritual successor.

Related: 10 Arcade Beat 'Em Ups That Still Need A Comeback

First Samurai performed a flying kick onto the Amiga and Atari ST at the start of the nineties, before being ported for the SNES. Feudal Japan was the picturesque but hostile setting for the protagonist, as swordsmen would often interrupt your journey to find the four items to unlock the final boss. First Samurai had the novelty of drinking sake and eating food in order to become stronger, but Okinawa Rush - with modernized features - offers co-op play with friends, making the defeat of demons and ninjas more enjoyable. Sokaikan’s title is obviously inspired by the design of First Samurai and many more, finished with a smooth polish, detailed set pieces, and explosive sound design.

okinawa rush combat screenshot

For those looking for a more authentic experience, arcade mode is one of the many features on offer in Okinawa Rush. This mode allows you to enter straight into combat to flex those combo skills and countermoves. The beat ‘em up also features an online high score system, where your score will be matched with the rest of the world.

On a different note, Nioh 2 borrowed First Samurai’s title for its DLC at the end of last year, titled ‘The First Samurai’. Team Ninja designed the DLC around the base game’s final chapter and added content that allowed you to explore Otakemaru’s past and the Sohayamaru secret.

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