It’s been a good year for the 2D brawlers. With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge leading the way 2D brawlers are having a moment. Now late into 2022 fans of brawlers have another title to enjoy. This title is Jitsu Squad and it follows a motley group of resurrected animal warriors as they battle against an army of evil across several worlds. The end game? To stop an all-powerful evil from using an ancient stone from enacting his evil vision.
A familiar cast of characters
In Jitsu Squad you get a choice of four animal warriors. They’re nothing particularly interesting. They pull inspiration from other IPs for these characters’ designs. However, each one has their own signature moves, as well as signature weapons. As you progress through the game you actually get access to variants of your weapons which have additional effects. Hero, for example, is a tanuki samurai who wields various elemental swords. My personal favourite is the fire blade. Every different weapon has a unique design and attack.
You level up your character by killing enemies and picking up their scrolls. After enough scrolls are collected you level up and learn a new technique. The most interesting and devastating ability is the Fury Transformation. This ability transforms your animal warrior into a human form complete with brand-spanking new armour and weapon. During this time you are invulnerable and can unleash devastating moves that decimate the enemies. An interesting feature is that the bosses also have a Fury Transformation. During this period you have to dodge and parry to try and stay alive.
Transformations, assists and summons oh my
In Jitsu Squad there are many ways to fight. As I spoke about earlier there is the transformation ability. However there are also assists, these tokens summon a legendary warrior who will deal a ton of damage to enemies, usually clearing the screen. These summons are sometimes notable personalities in the gaming industry. For example, Maximilian Dood and his late dog Benny show up unleashing a massive Hadoken on enemies.
One technique I utilised often was the summoning technique. After your summon gauge is full you can unleash a spirit that deals its own combo attack. Much like the other two techniques, it takes out a large swath of enemies in one fell swoop.
Helping to ratchet up the action is possibly one of the most entertaining scores I’ve heard this year. Jitsu Squad is action-packed and fueled by an energetic and kinetic score that pushes you further into this adventure.
I sadly do have several problems with Jitsu Squad. The game can be finished in approximately two hours and for its €29.99 price tag I’m not sure it’s worth it. Now there are several modes to enjoy, 2 – 4 player co-op local and online and once you finish the game the first time you unlock Tag Mode which allows 2 players to control 2 warriors each.
Also, I found the final boss far too easy. Getting there was a decent challenge but finishing it all was surprisingly easy. Finally, there is one serious game-breaking bug. Whenever I paused the game and went to the moveset the game would freeze and then I’d have to restart the whole game. Thankfully the checkpoint system means I didn’t lose much progress.
Jitsu Squad is a charming game. Filled with easter eggs and callbacks to all the great games that came before it. It’s not perfect and I don’t think it is worth the price tag but give it some time and a price drop and I think you and your friends will definitely have fun.