Karateka is a reboot of the 80s title Karateka with the original creator Jordan Mechner at the helm. The new Karateka is more than just a high-resolution update of the original, featuring new (if broadly similar) gameplay mechanics and the same emphasis on non-verbal cinematic storytelling, except with much more advanced graphics and sound.
The game follows three protagonists in their simple quest to save Princess Mariko from the evil warlord Akuma in a feudal Japanese setting. It is a linear, rhythm-based brawler in which the player takes on a succession of increasingly difficult enemies and mini-bosses until meeting Akuma himself. The entire game takes roughly half an hour to complete and uses a unique twist on the concepts of game difficulty and "lives" – the player starts with the relatively weak True Love character, and if he fails, the next protagonist (the Monk, and after him the Brute) comes up to continue where the previous fighter left off. While defeating Akuma with the tough Brute is not particularly challenging, it takes a true karateka (and a considerable number of replays) to save Mariko with the man of her dreams.