Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword

LQ: 8.8


Brain grade: 8.6
Fun score: 9

Game Type: ESRB Rating: N/A Platform/Console: LWK Recommended Age: 11+ Thinking Skills Used: , Academic Skills Used:

Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword is a swordfighting action game set in feudal Japan where players control a young warrior battling to save his princess from the fearsome Castle Lords. Each level takes place in an isolated 3D environment, with players defeating a set amount of enemies to continue. During combat, players must carefully time dodges and attacks, waiting for openings in the enemy’s defense and striking quickly. There are a variety of items that players can purchase and use during battle, like energy replenishing rice cakes or items that stun enemies. Sakura Samurai features moderate violence, but there is no blood, and enemies simply disappear when defeated. Due to the cartoonish nature of battles and some required reading, the game is recommended to players ages 11 and up.

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This Game is good for kids who need help with:


Managing our actions, feelings, and behaviors.

The game utilizes simple controls, with the A Button used to attack, and the B button used to dodge. However, players need to time their doges and attacks with precision. If they flail around aimlessly, the enemy will block their attacks easily. The closer an attack gets before players doge, the more the enemy becomes stunned, allowing more damage to be inflicted. Players can also strike the instant an enemy raises the sword to attack, a strategy impulsive players will need to practice  in order to succeed.

Dodging also builds power allowing for special moves to be unleashed, which become crucial to defeating the tougher enemies and boss battles. If the player does not control his impulses and attacks wildly, he will struggle to advance in the game.


Developing a systematic approach for setting and achieving goals.

When players finish a level, they are sent to an "overworld," a large map with branching pathways that allows them to choose the next spot to travel to. Here, they can replay levels to earn more money, or travel to villages to buy items and upgrade their sword. Villages play a big role in the game, and it is important for players to think ahead and plan out a strategy before tackling harder levels -- especially boss battles.

For instance, if players find that they are continually  defeated on a particular level, they should take steps in order to ensure they have a better chance of winning on their next attempt. This could mean replaying older, easier stages to level up their sword, or traveling back to a village to stock up on items that can aid them in battle before. In the village they can also forge and sharpen their blade to increase its strength and durability. Players need to decide what items they wish to buy (such as health potions or whetstones to sharpen their blade mid-battle), add up the total amount of gold needed, and then replay older levels until the required sum is earned. If players do no take the necessary steps to acquire helpful items and strengthen their sword, they will likely have trouble tackling tougher enemies and more challenging levels.

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