Okinawa Rush Review: Retro Flash with Little Substance

by David Sanchez December 2, 2021 @ 11:30 pm

Okinawa Rush

Reviewed on Switch

It’s equal parts disheartening and frustrating when you really want to enjoy something but you just can’t. Believe me — I really, really tried to like Okinawa Rush, but the game just didn’t do it for me. It’s especially disappointing because I saw folks all over the Internet praising the heck out of this game. But I suppose it just wasn’t for me.

A Winning Presentation

Okinawa Rush Story

I was all in when I loaded up Okinawa Rush. When you hear that bangin’ menu theme, you can just feel it — you know you’re in store for something rad. Well, that’s what I thought, at least.

Oh, don’t get me wrong — there was a short bit of time where I was actually enjoying my time with Okinawa Rush. That first level is pretty fun. You’re introduced to the game’s hectic one-versus-all beat ’em up action, where you can deliver crazy combos to dozens of baddies at a time. It’s wild, it’s cool, and it’s legit enjoyable.

Not to mention, it’s all wrapped up in retro-styled pixel graphics that look like something you’d see on an older console or arcade machine. If you like the art of old school games, you’ll be glad to know that Okinawa Rush is all about that dope classic style. But then, things just get really same-y and, quite frankly, mind-numbingly dull.

Vintage Style with Mediocre Brawling

Okinawa Rush Beat 'Em Up

Halfway through the second stage of Okinawa Rush, I’d realized I’d had enough. I enjoy beat ’em ups. They’re simple and to the point. And this game is very much that, but something about its clunky, button mash-y mechanics just didn’t resonate with me. I was bored, and I had to force myself to play through the remainder of the game’s five stages for the purpose of this review.

Aside from being wonky and boring, Okinawa Rush also feels cheap at times. Some of the bosses can damn near insta-kill you when delivering a barrage of strikes that you can’t block. It’s annoying, and it feels really lazy.

As if that wasn’t enough, a bug in the fourth stage wouldn’t allow me to progress because a door I should’ve been able to go through was locked. I had to send my character to her death nine times (because I’d accrued nine lives over the course of that stage) just to see if I could try again. But then something weird happened: Rather than start the level over, I was spawned to a checkpoint behind one of the locked doors. Um, okay?

Okinawa Rush Gameplay

Okinawa Rush includes a Story Mode and an Arcade Mode. There’s very little separating these two components in terms of gameplay and content. Story Mode does, however, let you complete some training exercises, upgrade your stats a bit, and decorate your dojo. Meanwhile, Arcade Mode is the option to go with if you just want to jump into the action. The game also includes two-player co-op if you want to go into it with partner like the good old days at the arcades.

The prospect of a tough, action-packed 2D beat ’em up is something that sparks a lot of interest in me. I mean, Streets of Rage 4 was my game of 2020. Well, if that was one of the best games I played last year, I hate to say it, but Okinawa Rush is one of the worst games I’ve played in 2021. Ugh, this isn’t the review I wanted to write about this game, people. Hey, you might like it, though, and I hope you do. But me? Yeah, no.

Score: 4 out of 10

Follow this author on .