Ganryu 2 review – Hakuma Kojiro by

Today, the demands from gamers are such that publishers need to adapt and offer a wide range of experiences that combine action, puzzles and exploration. Thus, we see the diversity of adventures looking in all directions (with the risk of sometimes remaining on the surface), and the indie scene is often the one that focuses on a genre to get the best out of it. With Ganryu 2, Storybird Studio immerses us in the beat’em up world by delivering a sequel to the eponymous game released in arcades and on Neo Geo. A good old fashioned action game set against the backdrop of Japanese legend!

Ganryu 2: A demanding and perfect tribute to Shinobi

Inspired by Takezo Shinmen’s fictionalized life, aka Musashi Miyamoto, Ganryu 2 – Hakuma Kojiro takes place in 17th century feudal Japan. The game takes place in different seasons (spring, summer, autumn, winter) and features one of the archipelago’s symbolic figures. After living from 1584 to 1645, this man – considered the most famous fencer in the country’s history – made a legend by delivering a legendary duel against Kojiro Sasaki on the island of Funa. This mythical battle continues to feed the stories related to the founding of Japan, and it is with all this mythology that the title of Storybird is permeated.


Ganryu 2: A demanding and perfect tribute to Shinobi

After his victorious confrontation against Kojiro Sasaki, Musashi Miyamoto decides to retire after a busy life on the battlefields. To meditate and try his hand at art and calligraphy, he settled in the province of Hokkaido in northern Japan. One day, while in the middle of a medication session, the character is struck by a vision. His lifelong nemesis, Kojiro Sasaki, reappears as a ghost and demands revenge! Musashi Miyamoto, aware that a great danger is approaching, takes back his saber and goes to fight the demons of the entity to reach the island of Ganryu-Jima to defeat once and for all, Kojiro, the one everyone calls .. Ganryu!

Ganryu 2: A demanding and perfect tribute to ShinobiGanryu 2: A demanding and perfect tribute to Shinobi

Like the original, Ganryu 2 is a straight-to-the-point title. Mix between Shinobi and Ninja Spirit, the title alternates between action and platforms. The avatar can kick, throw his kunaïs or even cut enemies while running. In terms of movement, perhaps because of his past, Musashi can only perform a double jump and wall jump. This successor to Ganryu therefore fully accepts his legacy without trying to change the formula: we tap, we advance, we knock, we advance, etc. To diversify the progression, the sword fighter still has access to special powers that can be activated when the energy bar fills up . The set seems a bit stiff at first, but we get caught up in the game and the realization turns out to be completely correct. But the difficulty, poorly dosed, can delay …


Ganryu 2 is a work that leaves nothing out and that also forces you to get rid of its lack of precision. The hitboxes (or collision mask, in other words the enemy’s sensitive area) are not always very clear, and it happens that small brakes will ruin the hero’s progress. If we combine this with the challenge of certain phases (barrels in the mine, certain bosses, the sudden rise in temperature to level 4, etc.), the game Storybird quickly becomes a title hardcore which will only be tamed by the most daring and nostalgic who will have no trouble immersing themselves in the feel of the 1990s. A solution to bring a choice in the difficulty level would not be a bad idea because the graphics are really nice, the animation is successful and the atmosphere as a whole is very immersive. The musical atmosphere, with very Japanese tones, also brings a lot to the experience. But it is obvious that one option for beginners, would only be to integrate waypoints into the levels, would not be too much. It is only at this “price” that all players will be able to enjoy the 5 levels in Ganryu 2, even if not all the courses are equally inspired. In any case, the most resilient will be happy to collect the many hidden Hanafuda cards before restarting the tracks to improve their run. But one has to take Ganryu 2 for what it is, namely a work that breathes the 1990s and which proves to be quite generic in terms of progression and level design.

Ganryu 2: A demanding and perfect tribute to ShinobiGanryu 2: A demanding and perfect tribute to Shinobi



  • A ninja in action!
  • Very many different environments
  • An interesting arcade approach
  • Quality soundtrack

Weak points

  • The absence of checkpoints
  • Accuracy issues
  • Some braking
  • Fairly flat levels
  • Character lacking flexibility
  • No difficulty choice

Ganryu, released in 1999, is not a game that has written media history, but it had a really enjoyable vibe and action. This successor follows in the footsteps of his elder without attempting to modernize the formula, which may seem out of step with current expectations. Without being a bad villain, Ganryu 2 suffers from a poorly balanced level of difficulty, which reserves it to specialists in the genre and lovers of a challenge. The absence of a control point (passage point) is harmful and forces the player to get out of quickly annoying precision problems. Thus, we constantly swing between the pleasure of evolving and the frustration of restarting the entire level at each failure. It’s a shame, because the realization, even if the inspiration is not always there, is completely correct. A small patch would shape the experience, but as it stands, the whole is pretty much perfect.

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