This one surprised me
Original Lugaru was released back in 2005 and this is apparent from the screenshots. Despite the HD treatment few years later the game looks rather crude today. Lugaru was included in the 2010's Indie Humble Bundle which is where I got my version from. Idea with martial arts anthropomorphic IE. rabbit with swords what Lugaru island is populated with is not exactly new. Name-dropping Usagi Yojimbo a comic book and its C64 game: Samurai Warrior: The Battles of Usagi Yojimbo here. Other than the rabbits is not so much other similarities the games have.
Lugaru could be categorized as open world action fighting game. Open world being just for the map and environment. Unfortunately the actual action is defined in to small area and the world basic is empty.
The unique aspect of the game is the actual battle. This is melee style mouse driven combat. Attack mostly is done by clicking the left mouse which depending on the pose and opponents actions perform a particular action. Almost at a button smashing level. This is broken down by the environment and different stances of the protagonist. All and all simple but yet affective mechanism. The battle mechanism which where the majority of the gameplay is built on is mostly enjoyable. The places where multiple enemies are fought makes the game very difficult. Enemy AI allows stealth and crowd management tactics by agroing one enemy at times. This reminding me of old Star Wars Galaxies efforts where one could solo Rancor's. Also the world with it open nature with it ambient sounds and vast hills reminded me of travelling in early A Tale In the Desert.
The world comes in four flavours: snow, desert and so on. Major difference being just the colour naturally. For a 2005 indie game the world is still quite functional still today. With unique battle making this stand out from other indie games. The character models are bit on the blocky side, but still relatively detailed. There is surprisingly many different battle animations which look good. Not to forget the rag-doll mechanism.
Game has a short campaign mode where the main character Turner, a martial arts rabbit is trying to keep the island of Lugaru safe. This can be finished in few hours. Completion unlocks a challenge mode where set of battle challenges are done. The juice being in the Lugaru fan community where multiple mods can be downloaded and easily installed. These ranging from elaborate stories to new models and so on.
Current asking price is still $9.99 which I wouldn't necessary recommended. The few hours I spend on the campaign and few mods were enjoyable but on more difficulty levels the battle is bit too frustrating in the long run. If you happen to own this game from the Indie Humble Bundle then I recommended checking it out. Certainly different kind of experience.The sequel Overgrowth seems to be way more polished. Just hoping the battling is more controlled as well.