The best samurai movies are marked by a certain brutal efficiency amongst their leading combatants.

There's none of that interminable hand waggly Errol Flynn nonsense. Rather, fights tend to be decided in a single second, even a single stroke.

All the tension is in the build-up, with the two (or more) fighters positioning themselves before a sudden explosion of bloody violence.

It's a staccato rhythm that Glory Ages - Samurais captures rather well.

Samurai showdown

In this handsome yet spartan arena combat game, you control a lone swordsman in a picturesque rendering of feudal Japan.

You must fight off successive waves of armed combatants using a four simple manoeuvres. There's a single attack button, which can be hammered for combos - though a limited stamina bar prevents excessive spamming.

There's also a block button to fend off attacks, and a crucial dodge button that enables you to roll away from enemy swipes. Finally, you have a rage button which appears when you build up your rage metre.

This sends you into an indestructible state, with accompanying black and white filter for added samurai film moodiness.

Slash and turn

More important than your mastery of this simple move set is an appreciation of distance and timing. If you time your slash correctly - such as immediately after a failed enemy attack - you could conceivably score a one-hit kill on your opponent.

It certainly feels the part, though fights do become repetitive fairly quickly. There isn't much variation, with even a move to a new level essentially amounting to a palette swap.

Admittedly, that palette is pretty beautiful - all otherworldly grass fields and stark snowy plains. The combat animation is spot on too.

But it's very easy to fall into a combat rut. I quickly found that kiting your opponents in order to tackle them one by one, then initiating a kick (dodge towards your opponent) and a follow-up flurry of attacks was a reliably powerful approach.

It's not enough to completely spoil the Glory Ages - Samurais package. As a simple hack-and-slasher, its faithful focus on the unique rhythm of samurai combat makes it feel quite unique. It's just a shame that there isn't a similar level of freshness to the game's structure.