Ronin the Last Samurai Game Review

So I just had a pretty long Lunar New Year’s break here in Malaysia… figured I picked some games to binge on. Samurai themed games have been on my list for a while, with the last game I played live on stream a mobile title aptly named “Demon Blade” (I never really wrote a review on this one), I began to look for something new that would have the same Japanese Samurai vibe.

As I was browsing through the internet, I also discovered Google Play Games beta, which suggests that we can now play Google Play Games on the PC with Google’s take on emulation. As usual my curiosity got the better of me and I just installed this on my trusty computer and started to browse for titles to play.

And lo and behold, that’s how I started to play Ronin : The Last Samurai on my PC. Although I technically first discovered this title some 6 months ago on the Google Play Store as an Editor’s Pick, I am pretty happy at how the game performed on my PC.

Google Play Games Beta Screen
Ronin the Last Samurai
Ronin the Last Samurai Title Screen

The game was released around January 2021, so it is probably now around 2 years old at the time of writing this article. The Game Developers Dreamotion Inc hails from Republic of Korea, and I have to say although I only played a handful of games from Korean development studios, they do take quality very seriously, and the art style seems to resonate with Asian gamers pretty well.

I mean, with 5 Million downloads and 271K reviews on this game (as of 28 January 2023), it’s a clear testament on how much attention and love it got from the players since it first launched until now.

Story

The game doesn’t really have much on the storyline except for what is written in the Google Play Store description : An era of warfare in Japan, death and betrayal stalk the land. A lone survivor – a disgraced warrior – has failed to save his lord. With nowhere to go and nothing to lose, the samurai clenches his sword as he sets out for revenge.

I mean, Ronin the Last Samurai is a mobile game after all, so for the lack of a “story mode”, if they make up for a good gameplay experience, I’d take it as a win. Plus, I probably can understand why the developers couldn’t really put a story in here nowadays without ruffling some feathers of historical political accuracy, especially when everything these days has to be “factually politically correct”. Bleh. But that aside, lets just say that they are honoring legendary games like Onimusha (Playstation) and Tenchu (Playstation) who basically had the most memorable samurai story thus far.

Thinking about it, even Samurai Shinobi (Retro) never really had an amazing story but people do remember how it played.

Perhaps in this case, less (story) is more (value) in game.

I have to say that it is indeed a very cool bonus that they didn’t over do the in-game microtransactions such as displaying frequent pop ups or annoying mid ads intermissions between stages.

So far, I am very pleasantly surprised.

Gameplay

The entire game is simple – Parry and Slash your way through your enemies, upgrade your gear, repeat. On a mobile phone, it would be your left and right thumbs, but as I mentioned before, I played this game on a PC, which conveniently gave us access to the WASD and mouse left & right buttons instead.

In Ronin: The Last Samurai, you start your path of revenge by beating the in game Chapters. To beat a chapter, you must fight for 20 stages straight, which includes mid-bosses at every fifth stage and a full boss every tenth stage. Dying means you must start that chapter all over again, from the first fight, but you get to keep any loot you found up to that point.

The fighting will definitely get more challenging in further chapters, if you didn’t get your basics right. The game introduces 2 types of damage : Attack damage and posture damage. Posture damage is all about how fast you can stun the enemy (or the other way round, how many hits you can block before you are stunned), and it’s the yellow bar at the bottom of your red health bar.

My challenge with this game is basically executing a “Counter Flash”, a move that allows you to turn the tides of a fight by seemingly zipping through the enemy, dealing huge damage. But this move can only be made if you hit the attack button the moment before the enemy’s strong attack hits you.

Now I am not sure whether it’s a mouse thing that’s making it difficult, or I just have very bad timing reflexes. Of course, you may wanna practice this with Ronin the Last Samurai’s Sacred Scrolls, where you can easily go through a list of enemies you have encountered in your journey and fine tune your attack and dodge skills.

You definitely can’t wing your way through with button mashes with Ronin the Last Samurai. Easy to play but difficult to master. It is all about timing your hits and blocks to have the best (and fastest) chance to complete a level. Definitely a plus for those who are looking for a challenging aspect to this game.

The roguelike element in the game comes in the form of random abilities that you can choose, everytime you manage to fill up the ability bar by completing a stage. My favorite ability is no doubt the “Scroll of Resurrection” skill, followed by the extra max level ability called “Unleashed Potential” (basically it gives you extra 2 bars to get more abilities).

Ronin the Last Samurai
Random Abilties Personal Favorites : Resurrect & Max Level

The trick here is to really consider your samurai’s build and pick the right abilities to work your way through to the last boss. After beating mini bosses, Ronin the Last Samurai gives you a chance to be granted perks that either come in greater attacks like a flaming blade or useful support buffs like auto-heal.

Of course, if you are like me, not having a cell of DNA for timing your moves, you can always work your way up to better gear and equipment, or invest in skills that give you the edge in battle. For this, the game has a few other in-game currencies used specifically for that – money and gems. For you to spend on materials or with a traveling merchant to get the necessary items for the next upgrade.

Ronin the Last Samurai
Merge Duplicate Equipment To Get Higher Tier Gear
Take a Your Pick of Mastery Skills

Speaking of which, the equipment ranges can make Ronin the Last Samurai a little more interesting as different swords will come with a special skill that you can use when the skill charge is full. Each gear has a tier level ranging from Normal, Great (Green), Rare (Blue), Epic (Purple), Legendary (Gold) and Mythic (Red). You can awaken your gear if you collect enough of it, basically the specs are much better and there are more options (think special attributes) on the gear that will help your character win the tough battles.

Ronin the Last Samurai
My Dream Weapon : The Mythical Whirlwind Twin Sword

You might also be interested to know that there is a pet boost system in the game where you can bring a sidekick that grants you special abilities. Take your pick from cats, dogs, and hawk (so far this has been my favorite) and more in game. As far as I observed, Cat = balance, Shiba Inu = Dodgy, Eagle = Critical. Funny thing is I only realized this cute addition after equipping the cat bell the moment I got it!

Although they don’t really fight on screen, it’s a nice addition to the game to see your pet running around with various poses as if it is cheering you on.

Essence is something that you can also consider as an additional boost to your character, which unlocks in Chapter 3. It works like a power up on top of your equipment’s specs, and has the renowned “set bonuses” if you equip 5 or more of the same type of gems on your character.

Just like all mobile action games with microtransactions built in, in Ronin the Last Samurai you will need an energy currency called “Onigiri ” to play. You can only hold a maximum of 25 Onigiri, and it costs 5 Onigiri to start a run.

What I particularly liked was all Chapter bosses have a unique moveset that requires careful movements and calculated parry and attacks to take down.

In fact, in Ronin the Last Samurai there is also a PVP feature in the game that unlocks after Chapter 7 called the “Arena of Carnage” where you can feel free to battle other players in a 1 on 1. Those of you keen to have a little more social part of the game can try for Season Ranking which resets every 14 days.

Graphics

Ronin the Last Samurai has the entire game theme is based on Japanese Water Ink Art, even down to how the character fights are animated. They were not kidding when they said “A Vivid Depiction of Japan in Ink Wash Painting. Experience the mesmerizing ink wash-style graphics, with a unique oriental taste.”

The animation just brings it to life, and when you play it on a bigger screen like a PC, it’s a feast for the eyes. The details are quite mesmerizing and often I forget that it is a mobile game.

Ronin the Last Samurai
Amazing Effects Animation With Japanese Ink Painting Style

In later levels, the various enemy types take inspiration from Japanese mythology and after you beat Chapter 3, you’ll unlock the Yokai Battle Mode. This is where your warrior can join the season ranking in defeating various Yokai.

Ronin the Last Samurai
This is one nasty frogger that you would want to smash

Your character changes as well depending on what type of armor he is wearing, and as you unlock Chapter 3, you will be able to purchase skins that give your character and pets a different look. Yep, you guessed it, you will need to spend on gems to do so, and it is time limited only for 7 or 14 days.

Ronin the Last Samurai
It’s just too bad skins are not a permanent inventory purchase as it is limited to a number of days

I do have to say that this game is generally “streamer friendly”, as in there is much less blood and gore compared to other samurai games, which won’t give you that much trouble with Social Media community guidelines.

Sound & Music

To go with the outstanding visual elements of the game, the backdrop music that sets the mood perfectly with very crisp recording of Japanese Instruments. The Japanese War Music in Ronin the Last Samurai consisting of Taiko Drums and Japanese Flute adlibs does set the mood so well that it creates a good tension when fighting bosses.

Sounds best on headphones or earphones as the speakers don’t do the music any justice at all. Sometimes I do put it on just to set some “tension” when I work.

Voice Over of Enemies and NPCs are few but aptly placed to set the tone. Don’t expect any heavy dialog in the game since there is no “overflowing story” elements here.

And one will never forget the sound of bullets bouncing off the sword the first time I blocked a shot from a musketeer (yes you can so totally do this). And if you put your headphones on, every swipe of your sword is pleasantly HD and along with the sound of squished liquid (up to you to interpret it as the black or red kind haha). Ronin the Last Samurai does not disappoint in this area and despite playing close to 100 runs the music is still pretty cool in my books.

And when you do equip a pet, it makes cute noises to add to the ambience of the game experience. However, I don’t quite agree with the part that a Panda “squeaks”, it kinda gets to your nerves after a while. I hope it could be just a low level pet issue, perhaps after I upgraded it to reach Epic Level or beyond it will be different.

Multi Device Experience

One thing to note for those of you who want to play Ronin the Last Samurai on your mobile device as well as on the Google Play Games beta (on PC), your account profile is saved along with your Google Account.

Ronin the Last Samurai
Mobile Controls
Ronin the Last Samurai
Desktop Controls

Also, on the mobile version it is ad-supported, meaning you get to have Free Equipment and Free Continues as long as you watch ads, or get extra Onigiri for the extra runs to catch up if you are new to the game. Believe me, from the difficulty level I have experienced so far, it really really helps.

For those of you who doesn’t really have a high end smartphone device, the developers have helpfully included an Optimization Setting for Graphics so that you can prioritize performance over hi resolution if you so wish.

Summary

Ronin the Last Samurai is a Great game to have on your mobile if you just want to slash something in 15 minutes with really gorgeous clean Japanese Ink Art.

For those who are playing, “Stay Calm and Parry On” guys, we’ll get there someday.

Download it from Google Play Store | Apple App Store

Official Website: http://dreamotion.us/#Games

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roninDreamotion/

Watch Me Play Ronin The Last Samurai Mobile Game

More Information About Ronin The Last Samurai

(This section may contain spoilers, read it at your own risk)

Is Ronin The Last Samurai free?

Yes, Ronin the Last Samurai is free to play. Do expect microtransactions to fast forward your progress for better gear and gacha boxes (as usual), or basically to pay for more game play per session as it as daily energy counter limit (Onigiri).

I played Ronin the Last Samurai A Long Time Ago, What Was Added in the Last 2 Years?

29 Dec 2020

Version 1.0.263.53188

* New Chapter: Forgotten Temple, Spiritual Realm, Nightfall Plains.

03 Feb 2021

Version 1.0.280.738

* New system, “Forging”.

24 Feb 2021

Version 1.4.290.1637

* Hard Mode “Shura’s Road” Updated.
* Season Ranking System Updated.
* New Pet “Panda” Updated.

01 Apr 2021

Version 1.7.300.3250

* New Contents “Chaos Crevice” updated.
* New Pet “Shiba Inu” updated.
* New NPC “Manekineko” introduced.

11 May 2021

Version 1.8.320.5005

* Added New Content: Chapter 9 & Chapter 10
* Added New Equipment Slot: “Fan”, “Belt”
* Added New System: “Limit Break”

14 Jun 2021

Version 1.10.341.6780

* Increased MAX Account Level
* Added New Training Abilities

05 Jul 2021

Version 1.11.350.7722

* Added New Content “Daily Mission”
* Added New Content “Chronicle of Battle”
* Added New Shop “Wandering Merchant”
* Added Battlepass “Path of the Warrior”

30 Aug 2021

Version 1.15.380.11555

* Improved Season Ranking System
* Added “Essence” System
* Added “Heavy Attack” Action

26 Sep 2021

Version 1.16.391.13606

* Added New Ronin : Tomoe Gozen
* Added New Equipment
* Added New Essence
* Added New Content : Yokai Battle
* Added New Content : Arena of Carnage

28 Oct 2021

Version 1.18.410

* New Ability Added

28 Nov 2021

Version 1.19.420

* New System “Equipment Collection”
* New System “Nightmare Altar”
* New Essence “Essence of Plague”

27 Dec 2021

Version 1.21.441

* New Contents: Twisted Battleground
* New Yokai Battle: Oogama
* New Essence: Essence of Life

07 Feb 2022

Version 1.23.463

* Added New Chapter 11 “Oni’s Forest”
* Added New Weapon “Blazelight Bow”
* Added New Equipment “Chrysanthemum Fan”

22 Apr 2022

Version 1.26.492

* UI convenience improvement
* New content: The Twisted Battleground (Shura’s Road)

23 May 2022

Version 1.27.505

* New content: Yokai Battle (Shura’s Road)

24 April 2023

April 2023 Update

* Overall ability selection system is overhauled, allowing for more strategic equipment settings and growth in adventure play

22 June 2023

June 2023 Update

New Abilities Added

1 Sept 2023

Sept 2023 Update

* Guild System: “Faction”
* Improving Early Experience
* Battle Balance Adjusted

What is the MAX Account Level I can reach?

According to the game’s Achievement’s List, “Endless training III – Reach account level 80”, my best guess is 80? Of course, depends on the developer, if they have increased the MAX account level once, they might do it again…

[EDIT:] I just unlocked “Yokai Battle”mode, and from Yokai Battle Ranking list, there are players who have reached Level 100.

Is there an easier way to do a Counter Flash?

Indeed, this is by far the most powerful move by your samurai warrior, it could really get you out of very tight spots as you literally go through the enemy and appear behind them. You may have noticed in Ronin the Last Samurai, the “Shura’s Sword” has a Skill called “Concentration” which causes your first 5 attacks within 6 seconds of activation becomes Counter Flash.

Among the available swords in the game, the “Shura’s Sword” has a much better combo timing of hit-1 and hit-2 that can possibly trigger the Counter Flash. There is also the “Hawk Eye” ability to you can obtain (either random or at the start of the game, and sometimes you have to pay for it with Gems or an Ad).

How to dodge in Ronin The Last Samurai

Yes dodge is pretty useful to keep you alive longer. However, you’ll notice in this game you don’t have a dodge button and it is by chance that you avoid a hit from your enemies. To increase this dodge chance, you can:

  • Choose equipment that give you “dodge increase”.
  • The cat bell gives you a passive dodge advantage
  • Add points into “Mastery -Dodge Training”

Best Sword In Ronin The Last Samurai

Shura is a good balanced style, Whirlwind is fast and agile. But the best sword always aligns with a good pet and make sure you upgrade it as soon as you can afford.

Best Weapon To Use (Starting Levels 1 & 2)

I’d recommend the Whirlwind Twin Blades, and the Hawk pet (you will get it around Chapter 2). You may want to also invest more in critical rate and damage.

Best Pet In Ronin The Last Samurai

If you are very early in the game and looking for more gold to spend on weapon upgrades, try to use the Crow (Crow Horn). If you want a good boost in critical rate, use the Falcon (Falconry Gloves). If you are the agile fighter type, use the Cat (Cat Bell). For Samurai Tomoe, some players like to use the Panda (Bamboo Lunchbox) as it boosts Health Points that gives the lady samurai a more balanced survival rate.

Ronin The Last Samurai Best Build

A little disclaimer here, I haven’t played enough of the game to know what is “the best”, but I scanned the leaderboards for the top player and this is what his equipment & gems look like. The point here is, it doesn’t matter what equipment and gems you are using, you need to make sure it has the right points in the right places according to your playstyle. The drops are very random for everyone, just use the Mastery to balance out your weak points.

Ronin the Last Samurai
Screenshot Taken as of 10 July 2023. 2pac is a Level 100 player

Where Can I Find More Onigiri for Extra Playtime?

Install the mobile version of the game, you can claim up to 25 more Onigiri by watching ads.

Where Can I Find More Fans of Ronin The Last Samurai?

Try this reddit, although it has been dormant for about 9 months now.

Are You Still Playing This Game?

If it keeps entertaining me and when I discover something new, I’ll add on to my Ronin the Last Samurai Battle Logs.

Posted by Wycoconut

Join my Gaming Channels for more Awesome Games: Monster Hunter Rise / World, Gundam Games, Metal Slug / Super Mario Bros. 2, God Of War. Sometimes a bit of Vintage, Mobile Games, PS3 / PS4 / PC / Wii Titles stashed in deep in the bowels of my gaming chest... All For Good Fun!