Throw Tarantino, Hotline Miami, and 47 Ronin in a blender, and you'd get Samurai Gunn
**It should be noted that I've only played solo Survival, and none of the multiplayer options but I feel that single player is substantial enough to enjoy on its own.**
So you might be thinking that those three elements in the title seem like a weird mix, but that's the kind of vibe I'm getting during my time with Samurai Gunn. Take the samurai films of old, ramp it up to eleven with the Tarantino-style violence and blood, and then imbue that with the lightning-fast white-knuckle pace of Hotline Miami, and that's Samurai Gunn in a nutshell
Choose a samurai, choose an arena, and then fight. One hit kills. Armed with only your blade, your handful of bullets, and your agility, you must survive against increasingly challenging waves of enemies in increasingly complex arenas. Like Hotline Miami, death comes fast and at a moment's notice; a single lapse in timing, in reaction and reflex, and your blood will stain the ground rather than your opponent's.
There are no power-ups to equip, no special swords to unlock, or abilities to use. You and your foes are equally matched; superior skill and reflexes are your only advantages. Each battle is one of hair's-breadth dodges over swinging blades, of smart positioning, perfect timing to strike down an enemy in mid air or deflect his bullet back at him. And that's just against one opponent; it only becomes more intense once you're down to one life and three enemies are out for your blood. Since everyone is equally matched, this is a game first and foremost about skill mastery and just becoming a better player, and it's a kind of minimalist yet rewarding sense of progression that few games implement. It's so satisfying to go from dying constantly against a single foe to taking on two or three and not losing a life.
It's not just this frantic dance of death that makes Samurai Gunn so compelling, but the sheer variety of arenas as well. From levels consisting of moving platforms and traps to levels with spike pits and saw blades, to levels made of nothing but easily breakable bamboos so that the layout changes and shrinks as you play, they are numerous and each must be learned and mastered if you wish to succeed. In this way, it's the arena themselves that provide Samurai Gunn with depth and replay value. Even if you've mastered the skills and swordplay, fighting enemies in a collapsing bamboo forest over spikes is a very different experience than fighting enemies in a open map that loops from top to bottom or one with various traps, and requires the player to think and react differently depending on the arena.
It's the little details that round out this impressive package. Fall into a pond and your gun won't fire but instead discharge spurts of water. Your blood and bodies stay behind, monuments and reminders of your past failures. Play dead among the corpses to confuse your enemy. Slash at your foe at the same time he does, and you'll clash swords and fly apart, leaving a dust trail in your wake.
So again, I've only played single player, but I can only imagine that multiplayer is even better thanks to human players instead of AI. You can play co-op against bots or fight against each other in Versus mode. As for Samurai Gunn's future, the developer has said he's "interested in experimenting with different types of enemies, modes, and other things" so there's only more frenetic bloodshed to come.
tl:dr Samurai Gunn is the Hotline Miami of 2D samurai brawlers