In that great big, constantly evolving world of video games, the intersection of traditional narrative with genre-defying gameplay may be the perfect ground for turning a dramatic story into a memorable experience. Enter Tenjutsu. By merging the swords-and-daggers mystique of the Yakuza with the creative genius of Sébastien Benard, who brought us the award-winning Dead Cells, Tenjutsu promises to up the ante on what it means to be a roguelike. Here’s what the developers say: ‘Based on an original take on the Yakuza lore, Tenjutsu won’t be just another coming-of-age samurai story – it’s a dramatic game in a motion world.’


The Birth of Motion in Secret Garden City

Amid the black shadows of Secret Garden City, in a dark place, a story with intrigue unfolds: there is a powerful conflict between the four Yakuza syndicates who rule over the city and one active Yakuza (female!) renegade, who dares to make her presence felt in the battlefield. Tenjutsu is an action adventure, a top-down action roguelike beat ’em up in which every action counts. Players are invited to dance to the beat of destruction, taking down the city district by district. We use animations and gameplay mechanics in a smart way to create impact and immersion.

Embrace the Motion: Gameplay Dynamics

Tenjutsu invites you to enter into a flow state of combat and urban development, where players experience a rush as they dash through the neon-drenched streets of Secret Garden City. On your mission, you capture currency and utopian power-ups along the way, propelling you towards freedom. And the more you move in the environment, the more material gain you get – but as your enemies grow more powerful, motion becomes both your salvation and your enemy.

Mastering the Flow: Combat and Strategy

Combat in Tenjutsu isn’t about pumping your fists and fighting your way through anyone in your path. It’s about engaging with the space around you and your opponents – about moving and thinking in one fluid, dynamic motion. Each encounter is a puzzle, a test of cunning and spirit, and the game challenges you to master motion like a dancer. Will you charge into your enemies, or move through the shadows and strike when unseen? Every decision you make as the player is felt in Secret Garden City, where anything you can think of can be done.


The Legacy of a Visionary

Tenjutsu, a Kung-Fu platformer that was a labour of love funded by Benard’s savings from Dead Cells, was his demonstration of the company’s ideals before Deepnight Games had even released its first game. His jump to Deepnight from Motion Twin was part of his professional investment in upping the gameplay and narrative expectations of roguelikes. Tenjutsu is a meeting point, the endgame of that launch.

Deepnight Games: A New Dawn

Tenjutsu will undoubtedly be Deepnight Games’ most impressive project to date. It’s significant in that it’s more than an addition to their portfolio; it constitutes a call-to-action in the world of indie game development, promising to deliver a profound narrative alongside evocative, high-octane gameplay.


While all the fans might be opening their emails with baited breath, waiting for an actual release date, it feels like the clouds have parted and you can see the horizon, where Tenjutsu is rising in the distance. It’s coming to both PC and consoles, and straight into your heart, and it looks like it just might have all the best bits of a familiar game, with a better excuse to play it. I for one am incredibly happy that Devolver is making Tenjutsu (because that’s actually the best they could do) and will be playing it when it’s ready, because it looks like the future of all games.


  • Hyper Light Drifter's successors tease a visually stunning journey.
  • Day of the Devs unveils promising titles, including Grindstone's thrilling continuation.
  • Despite having sunk $70 million in the game before canning it, Amazon’s foray into the MMO space with New World promises a markedly different gaming spectrum this October.
  • Rekindling nostalgia, Volgarr the Viking 2 promises a return to classic challenges.
  • The gaming summer showcase of 2024 beckons with a lineup that promises endless excitement.


In Tenjutsu, movements need not be mechanical; they can be narrative, propelling the story forward, evolving with every step, punch and kick. Tenjutsu is a game in which the movement of your pieces is your story, your victory or your ruin. Between the beat of legs and the beat of fists, between the clang of swords and the click of strategy, Tenjutsu asks its player to live in a world in motion, where nothing is ever still.

With its emphasis on the movement of characters and objects throughout the world, Tenjutsu provides a valuable lens through which we can consider the role of dynamics in storytelling. Movement in Tenjutsu is not just about shifting location; it is also about evolution, freedom and the potential for a leap into the unknown. In video games and in life, change is not just about where you go. It’s about who you become.

If Tenjutsu is the next chapter in the story of the roguelike, then with Tenjutsu we’re witnessing the writing of that next chapter – right as it happens. As Sébastien Benard and Deepnight Games take this crucial step in the evolution of the roguelike, we’ve never been more excited to take that first step with them, and watch as it challenges us, conquers us, and takes us forward with motion.

Jun 08, 2024
<< Go Back