If you have ever imagined what a spy comedy such as Johnny English would look like as a Japanese action game, Assault Spy, the latest project from Japanese indie developers Wazen might be exactly what you have been searching for. Although the game is only in Early Access at the current time, Wazen seem to have the core structure almost perfected, with only a few small issues that need to be addressed during development.
The currently available story mode of Assault Spy focuses on Asaru, a highly proficient spy who has been assigned on a mission to defeat the corruption that is invading the Negabot corporation. Alongside his partner Kanoko, he must defeat the robots that have been assimilated by the company, alongside a group of extravagant villains who seem to be controlling their actions. The relationship between Asaru and Kanoko, as well as their interaction with other characters provide many comedic moments during cutscenes. One of the best examples of this is when they are discussing a battle upgrade Asaru has received, and the inventor of the device immediately denies that it was named after one of Blizzard’s most recent video games. Another story chapter starring a CIA agent named Amelie is indicated in the menu screens, but it is not possible to start her narrative campaign at this point in time.
The core gameplay of Assault Spy is that of a traditional single player hack and slash action game. Traveling across several different areas of the Negabot’s office building, Asaru can use his specially equipped briefcase to perform melee attacks, as well as leaping into the air or dashing out of an enemy’s attack range. Performing a chain of successful attacks increases the rank you will earn for completing the stage. The current rank and time remaining before you lose your current attack phrase is shown on screen, so you are aware of how close you are to receiving the elusive S rank. Sustaining attacks from enemies will prevent you from achieving higher ranks, so you will need to channel your inner spy effectively to earn greater success. There were only a few levels available during the current build of Assault Spy, but each of them felt as if they could have been included in a final product. The only minor concern I have is that during the battle arenas, there is a flaw in the level design that makes it possible to fall out of bounds to a narrow gap, which can easily disrupt the flow of battle.