Samurai Gunn releases on Steam

Samurai Gunn , a 2D brawler—platformer, is out now on Steam. It's the brainchild Teknopants , indie developer Beau Blyth, and published by Maxistentialism , creator of Cards Against Humanity Max Temkin's company.

Each player gets a samurai sword and a gun containing only three bullets. If you get hit by either just once, you're dead, so it's a really frenetic, twitchy battle, with up to four players jumping around the screen, trying to land the first blow. Like any good fighting game, it relies on technical skill, but also involves a fair amount of mind games, baiting your opponent to strike first, make himself vulnerable to attack, or waste all his bullets.

It has a cool, 16-bit aesthetic, and a lot of nice little touches that make each strike look super satisfying. When you hit an enemy, for example, the screen blacks out all but a narrow strip where the chunky, pixel blood is being spilled, just like in a grindhouse martial arts flick.

It reminds me a lot of an old freeware MS-DOS party favorite, Jump 'n Bump , which is the same idea only with cute bunnies and no swords or guns.

Temkin first saw the game demoed at GDC, where it was nominated for an IGF Excellence In Design award . He said he couldn't get it out of his head, so he made friends with Blyth, advised him Samurai Gunn's development, and eventually decided to publish it.

Listed system requirements are Windows 7, 2 GB RAM, and 201 MB of available space. An unlisted requirement is real life friends, as Samurai Gunn is strictly for local multiplayer. It's on sale now for a 20 percent discount, bringing it to $11.99. The sale will last until December 17.