Chambara (video game)

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Developer(s)Team OK
Publisher(s)USC Games Publishing
Director(s)Kevin Wong
Designer(s)Esteban Fajardo
Artist(s)Catherine Fox
ReleaseJuly 26, 2016 (PS4)
December 12, 2017 (PC, MacOS)
Genre(s)Stealth game
Mode(s)Local multiplayer

Chambara is a stealth game developed by Team OK and published by USC Games Publishing.[1] It was released on July 26, 2016 for PlayStation 4, and on December 12, 2017 for PC and MacOS.[2]

It received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the art style and gameplay, but criticized its lack of features. The game was nominated for an IGF Award, and won a BAFTA Ones to Watch Award in 2015.[3] It was also an official selection at Indiecade.[3]


The game is entirely local multiplayer and each player controls their own anthropomorphic bird samurai character.[4] The world is purely made of black and white parts, allowing characters to hide in plain sight due to their solid black and white colors.[4] Players can also throw a single throwing star (which colors the enemy and makes them visible), and also air dash.[4][1] One hit by the player's kendo stick results in the enemy character's death, similar to Bushido Blade.[4] By pressing L2, the character's eyes can be squinted or closed to prevent screen-watching.[4]


The game was developed by students at USC Interactive Media & Games Division.[1] It was created to be played in a college dorm, leading to its couch-based multiplayer focus.[1] The game's art style was inspired by Samurai Jack, Akira Kurosawa films,[3] as well as 20th century Japanese art and Mono-Ha and Metabolism architecture.[1]

The game's characters were changed from humans to birds and blood to feathers because of fears that it would be too violent to be shown in festivals with young children.[3] Having the player easily navigate the world and see the UI was a challenge due to the black and white nature of the art style.[3]

Awards and Reception[edit]

Chambara received the 2015 BAFTA Ones to Watch Award, which celebrates new talent and innovation in the video games industry, [5] and was chosen by IndieCade as a festival select in fall 2015. [6] In 2016, it received the IGF nomination for Best Student Game at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. [7]

The game received mixed reviews from critics, with an aggregate score of 71/100 on Metacritic.[2]

Chris Carter of Destructoid rated the game 75/100, saying that "it does one thing, and it does it pretty well".[4] He said that "there's enough here to keep most people interested, so long as they have a steady stream of friends (or a roommate/significant other) to play with".[4]

Chad Sapieha of the Financial Post rated the game 70/100, saying that while the idea of the game was "fantastic", the idea was "underdeveloped" and would only deliver a "few hours" of fun before "growing stale".[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e "'Chambara,' the split-screen samurai game born in a dorm". Engadget. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  2. ^ a b "Chambara". Metacritic. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  3. ^ a b c d e Baker, Chris. "Road to the Student IGF: Chambara by Team OK Games". Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Review: Chambara". Destructoid. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  5. ^ "BAFTA Ones to Watch Award Winner in 2015: Chambara". 2015-03-12. Retrieved 2017-08-28.
  6. ^ "Chambara". Retrieved 2017-08-28.
  7. ^ "Chambara: Student Entrant 2016". Retrieved 2017-08-28.
  8. ^ "Chambara review: Stealthy arena fighter delivers innovative action, but too few ways to play". Financial Post. 2016-08-15. Retrieved 2017-08-07.