Wether or not you will enjoy Katateka depends entirely on what you are looking for in a game. This title has a very classic approach to gamedesign, a simple base concept that you can understand in mere seconds but it's mastery will take several hours and quite a bit of dedication on your part.
Gameplay is for the most part a reaction test or should I say a test of patience? You observe the movement of the enemy, while listening to a few notes to tell you how many attacks to expect and then block the entire attack-string, opening up the enemy for a counter attack in the process.
It starts off easy, and feels quite a bit like "just a succession of Quicktime Events" in the beginning - but as you advance and enemies get harder and start messing with your timing by using delayed attacks or attacking in certain patterns that you best avoid using your Chi-attack - you will realize this game is deeper than it seems at first glance.
That realization is the moment when you start building a love/hate-relationship with Karateka, getting the game done with the first two suitors is rather easy - the true test of skill lies in getting the "true love" to the end. As you will mess up the first times around. And it takes insane amounts of concetration to get to the end unhurt and fully mastering the game. The rather short length of the title is a direct result of this, as it can get really intense if not frustrating to take on the final challenges this game offers - it will test your perseverance as it keeps throwing you back to square one time and time again.
This might be incredibly boring for some, since you go down the exact same path everytime and the only real progress you make is in learning pattern-timings for blocking, perfecting the battles as you go - reaching a zen-like state in the process.
At first I wasn't actually motivated enough to see it through to the "perfect" ending myself, getting through the game without making a single mistake is doable but not exactly a very enjoyable experience - overall I was not invested enough in the design of the world. Knowing the old game I am just not feeling the new approach in the art direction with rather cartoonish proportions especially on the main heroes and quite the boring looking goons you have to dispose. Somehow, I still kept going back to it - which means it had to do something right.
Also, the game trying to run at a steady 35 frames, and smoothing these frames to something between 22 and 62 on the fly depending on your rig is quite bad for a game that is this timing-dependent. And the perspective used in battles, while looking dramatic and all, isn't exactly helpful at showing you when certain attacks connect since bodyparts will be obscured by other bodyparts further killing my willingness to actively pursue achieving perfection in this game.
Let me finish this by saying I was positively surprised by Karateka, offering more than I expected in terms of motivation and depth. If you can wrap your head around the idea of "learning" a game, chances are you will enjoy this as well.
Posted: December 1st, 2013