Katana Zero, a slice-and-dice 2D action platformer, is now available for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS through Steam. \n \nIt too some delay as the game was originally anticipated to be released in March this year. Nevertheless, it certainly worth the wait as early reviews for Katana Zero were very optimistic. \n \nWhat makes this game extra challenging is that you don’t get extra chances. One hit and you die. \n \nThe game gives new meaning to practice as the essential ingredient to mastery. Remember a University of Colorado professor’s theory about mastering a skill? In 1993, Anders Ericsson wrote a paper about putting in 10,000 hours to master a skill. \n \nOf course, that theory has been debunked since then as you don’t really need that much time to be adept at something. \n \nIn the game, you play Zero. You don’t have any memory of who you are. You only know yourself as an assassin who follow orders to kill without questions. You are also injected with Chronos, an experimental drug, that will give you special abilities. \n \nYou are basically immortal as you can do over your mistakes. You are doomed to repeat the same combat, for instance, until you get it right. You also use this ability to manipulate time in order to learn your identity. \n \nThe story for Katana Zero is webbed into the gameplay. The narrative is not linear, so you really have to pay attention to the dialogue in order to understand. \n \nIn Katana Zero, the challenge about instant death in combat will force you to be extra attentive. But there are certainly a number of skills in your arsenal in order to subdue an enemy. \n \nFor instance, you can parry the attacks, deflect or dodge bullets, and “manipulate” environments and your opponents. You can use explosives and booby traps to kill your enemy. Only one rule in Katana Zero--you don’t leave survivors behind. \n \nYou can also try stealth if you want. After all, the object is to survive up until you complete your mission in each stage. \nPolygon described Katana Zero as more of a puzzle game rather than a conventional slice-and-dice game. For each stage, there are only one or two ways in which to complete the mission. \n \nThe challenge is trying to figure out the correct key in order to solve the puzzle. Sure, the swordplay and gunfight can be entertaining, but the satisfaction really is completing a mission after several attempts. \n \nKatana Zero can be downloaded through Steam for $14.