By Chris Picone, 13 December 2022
Jitsu Squad's an absolute cracker of a game; a side-scrolling beat 'em up that's packed full of action, retro references, and absolutely follows the rule of cool. The best way I can describe it is "Golden Axe meets Kung Fu Panda."
Very slick hand-drawn cartoony graphics, with tons of little "nice touch" details in the background, and some very impressive special effects. There are also some cool cartoony cut-scenes between missions. Jitsu Squad is a deliberate mish-mash of every cool cliche scene you can think of, so you'll find yourself fighting yakuza, mafia, ninjas, dragons, dinosaurs, penguins, and in all sorts of spectular environments. There's never a dull moment. Jitsu Squad is polished out the wazoo; not a single pixel is out of place and all the controls feel smooth and natural.
Initially the controls are like any other beat 'em up, but the focus is on speed and awesomeness. As expected, you can dash, jump, and attack. Combination attacks do feature; usually just a matter of mashing the attack button multiple times successfully but with some subtleties - finishing with a single tape, double tap, or held attack button all create different combo moves. You also get a secondary weapon (flame sword, arm cannon, venom-like symbiotic limbs) and unlock new "special moves" every few levels. That would probably be enough but Jitsu Squad also gives you not one but two ultimate abilities - and they even recharge through the level so there's no need to "save them" for the "right moment." Jitsu Squad wants you to get out there and do cool stuff.
The game's relatively short with only around 3-4 hours of gameplay but it's very much a case of quality over quantity. There's absolutely no filler; every level and every battle is spectacular and memorable.
If you're a fan of sidescrolling beat 'em up games, don't miss this one. You'll love it and so will your kids. Oh! And I didn't even mention, it's a co-op game with up to four players so it's perfect for party gaming.