The creator of the arcade classic Prince of Persia, Jordan Mechner, is back with Karateka! If you remember the original side-scrolling karate classic (created in Mchener’s Yale dorm room over 28-years ago and making video game history with rotoscoped animation and cinematic cutscenes), this updated version will be just enough to trigger your memory with the added benefit of touch-screen controls.

Accurately described by the developer as “easy to grasp yet challenging to master,” Karateka is based on rhythm-based karate combat which lends itself very well to the touch-screen interface found on the iPad.

While the graphics are among those seen in higher-end iOS games (featuring art by Jeff Matsuda, interpreting the original 8-bit images), the strength is in the defend and attack maneuvers. While there are perceived delays at times between your screen taps and the on-screen movements, overall the actions and responses are very enjoyable. The graphics are well served by the soundtrack, put together by Grammy-winning composer Christopher Tin.

The story is lovely and honorable, giving you the opportunity to play a hero and “save the lovely Mariko from the evil warlord Akuma and reunite her with her True Love.” Game-play is simple in nature: fight all enemies whose paths you cross.

What I liked: I love games that remind me of my gaming youth, and Karateka is updated nostalgia does not disappoint.

What I didn’t like: A common complaint that I agree with completely is that this game is really very short. This is unfortunate because it seems like the game is ending just as you get the hang of it.

To buy or not to buy: If you ever played the original, you will not want to hesitate before downloading this game.

  • App Name: Karateka
  • Version Reviewed: 1.0
  • Category: Games
  • Developer: Karateka LLC
  • Price: $2.99
  • Score: