Katana Zero Speedrun Guide

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Katana Zero is one of my favorite games to watch speedruns for. Its stylistic action, precise inputs, and slight randomness make it incredibly fun to watch and speedrun.

Even better, the game has built-in settings for speedrunners to make it easier for them to track their times and customize them to their preferences. So, if you’re looking to start trying your hand at speedrunning in Katana Zero, you’ve come to the right place.

Key Info Up Front

  • Speedrun Category: All Stages
  • World Record Holder: Lastnumb3r
  • World Record Time: 15 minutes 17 seconds

Before You Begin

Once you’re familiar with the levels and comfortable with the controls and movement of the game, you’ll be ready to start trying actual runs through the entire game. Before doing so, however, I recommend changing some settings. The speedrun community standard settings are below.


  • Stable Seed: Enabled (keeps enemy movement consistent in levels)
  • Skip Cutscenes: Enabled
  • Action Only: Enabled
  • Skip Replay: Enabled
  • Dragon Dash Max: Enabled (allows you to use dragon dash more quickly if playing with a controller)
  • Show Timer: Enabled (required by the speedrunning community)
  • No Slow-Mo: Enabled (only enable if you don’t want to use the slow-mo mechanic during your run as it will get rid of the big fan in the Factory stage, which will save you some time)
  • Hit Pause: 0%
  • Screen Shake: 0-20%
  • Text Speed: 2x
  • Skip Rewind: Enabled
  • Slowdown Control: Tap/Toggle
  • Vsync: Disabled
  • Restart FX: Disabled

Core Mechanics

Katana Zero Speedrun Guide

While you play to learn the game’s controls and level layout, you should also work on these core mechanics that you should use to make your movement as efficient as possible.

These moves will help you get around the maps more efficiently, avoid enemies while closing in to decrease the chance of getting hit by a stray strike, and make your play much more fluid.

Crouch Roll

Crouch Rolls, or c-rolls, are the more advanced version of rolls that make the character move slightly faster, ultimately shaving off around a dozen seconds if you do it consistently throughout your playthrough.

When you start speedrunning Katana Zero, you don’t have to focus on mastering c-rolls immediately. Still, once you start looking to shave precious seconds off your runs, this is a pivotal mechanic to master.

To perform a c-roll, you need to hold down and then roll. While it makes your roll move faster, it doesn’t affect the duration of the roll, so once you get the timing down for regular chaining rolls, you can apply that to c-rolls as well.

However, there are risks to using c-rolls, so be prepared for some learning pains until you get them mastered. This is because if you mistime the roll input, your character will stay crouched in one place for a bit, which wastes some time.

You should also note that you’ll have to use regular rolls on platforms, as pushing down will drop you through the platform before you can execute the roll.

Crouch Slash

Katana Zero Speedrun

Crouch Slashing is the de facto fastest movement technique in Katana Zero, but it is also the hardest with the most severe penalty for mis-inputs. I still haven’t gotten crouch slashing done, and the game’s speedrunning community only recommends trying to learn the technique if you are trying to set records or reach the top of the game’s leaderboard.

If that’s you, or if you want to try and learn all of the mechanics present in Katana Zero, crouch slashing is very similar to c-rolls but with a slash in between the rolls.

So, that breaks down to c-rolling, using a slash ten frames later, and then c-rolling again 12 frames later. If you can manage to do that consistently repeatedly, you’ll have the fastest movement in the game down.

Katana Zero Speedrun Path


Factory is a great level to grind on when trying to master Katana Zero‘s movement mechanics because there are very few techniques or skips in the level to get through it faster. So, getting your time down on this level comes down primarily to your movement and being as efficient as possible with your rolls.

It will also help if you know exactly where to go and where to expect the enemies to spawn in, but that will come naturally over time. Thankfully, the screens in this level are easy enough that you should be able to get through them with your flow.

Hotel 1-3

For the first screen of Hotel, you want to go to the elevator and stand on its right side. Immediately when it opens, kill the enemy on the right and then roll to the edge of the screen and start mashing your way through the dialogue using both of the buttons you have mapped.

This will get you through the text even faster, and then you’ll go to the right to the second screen.

The second screen is simple and is just a few rolls and slices to get through it. The third screen may take you a bit of time to get down. I know it took me a few tries to get it done smoothly. For this one, cut both enemies at the bottom of the stairs and pick up the lamp from the table as you pass it at the top of the stairs.

Then, open the door and cut the two enemies behind it. Go left, and use the lamp to kill the enemy on the middle floor before going up to your right. Kill the enemy at the top and pick up the potted plant behind him and throw it to your left before killing the other two enemies to your right and leaving the screen.

I’ve always found this section easier using a keyboard and mouse rather than a controller, but it is mostly personal preference.

Hotel 4-6

Katana Zero Speedrun

Roll twice and pick up the lamp as you pass it to the next screen. Kill the two enemies at the top of the stairs, start going down the stairs to the right, throw the lamp at the enemy that spawns on that side of the room, and go back left.

There will be two enemies there that you can kill with a slash, roll, and slash, which will place you next to the door to progress to the next screen.

For the screen with the two guys in a room watching tv, grab the plant as you pass, open the door, and kill the enemy leaning against it. Then, immediately roll behind the two watching tv. Otherwise, they will stun and kill you.

Hit them both with one slash, and then roll on. Kill the two enemies around the laser, and then after you open the last door, throw the plant to kill one and slash the other.

For the next room, drop down and kill the enemy on the left, pick the knife up off the ground, and then kill the enemy to the right. Go through the door and kill the enemy before going through the door to the outside of the screen and throw the knife backward to kill the enemy there.

Roll and slice your way through the enemies as they appear, and grab the bust when you get back into the room. Kill the two enemies stacked behind the door, and right after you open the second door, throw the bust to kill the target without having to sit through his dialogue.

Then, roll back to the left, kill the man coming out of the elevator, and you’ll be done with Hotel.

Club 1-3

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have to grind out the first screen of Club quite a bit. To get through it as fast as possible, you have to perfectly jump from crowd to crowd across the first floor to avoid being spotted by the guards.

To do this, make sure that you jump and land vertically, which will prevent the guards from seeing you even when you do so in their vision cones.

Start a roll right after the table behind the first guard on the second floor. This will position you in line with the guard so that you can perfectly jump past him without him spotting you.

However, the jump has to be perfectly inside him for this to work, so get ready to practice it a lot. Then, hold your roll key and jump twice to make it past the last guard when you land. Then, roll to the door and move on to the next screen.

For the next room, kill the guards as you come across them and pick up the knife as you pass it. Once you get to the boxes, hide behind them and then throw the knife to the left to kill the enemy that comes from there.

In the Club’s third room, slash and roll your way through the enemies and pick up the knife to throw it up at the pipe at the end to save yourself some time. Do the same thing in the next room, which is pretty simple.

Club 4-6

Katana Zero Speedrun

Then, wall-jump up the tunnel and slice the enemy at the top. Slice open the door and slice immediately again to take out the turret and the enemy next to it. Roll twice up the stairs and kill the enemy at the top. Go through the door and pick up the knife as you pass it.

Jump and slash the enemy with the gun above you, throw the knife at the pipe above, and then cut the enemy to your left. Roll right past the lasers, kill the enemy at the end, pull the lever, and then roll back left. Don’t worry about the second turret, as the smoke from the pipe will prevent it from seeing or shooting at you.

The next screen has a bunch of enemies in it, but it is one of my favorites in the entire run. First, roll and cut through the first three enemies on the ground floor. Then, jump to the second floor and roll immediately to get behind all four enemies there. Then you can slash to kill all of them with one swing.

Turn the lasers on to your right and then roll left and pick up one of the throwables. Jump and slash upward and kill the first two enemies up there. Cut the door, throw the throwable, and deflect the bullet back at the final enemy before rolling to the left to exit.

For the last screen, roll and cut your way through the level, but keep one of the throwables. Then, at the end, wait for a short while for the last enemy to run down and then throw your throwable to kill him.

He doesn’t even have to be on the screen when you throw him, so take some time to practice the throw and get the timing down just right.


This level is very straightforward, with basic enemies that you can roll and slash through for the entire level.

Studio 1-5

For the first screen of Studio, slash the door open and the enemies behind it while picking up a throwable as you pass. Then, throw it at the final enemy when they reach the top of the stairs so that you can roll straight through to the next screen. Take it to the Chapel of Doom first to waste the least amount of time in the elevator at the elevator.

For the Chapel of Doom, ride the mine cart and be as efficient with your movement as possible. When you have to jump the two short lasers, you can use slashes in the air to maintain your height and do it in one jump. Then, you can roll after opening the first door on the first platform and kill both enemies with a single slice.

For the second screen with the cart, you can kill the first enemies by jumping and slashing in the air to let the cart kill them, while the platforms with enemies are all down to solid core movement.

After Chapel of Doom, you should go to Space. Roll past the lasers in the first screen, grab the Molotov, and throw it up at the group of enemies before jumping up and killing the last one on your left. Cut the first door, roll to avoid the bullets, and cut the guard.

Pick up another Molotov, slash the door, immediately slash the enemy behind it, and then roll. And as you start to roll, throw the Molotov to kill the group in front of you. Then, kill the enemies on the stairs and roll to the exit.

When the second area of Space starts roll right away, pick up the Molotov and throw it. Then, roll forward and kill the two soldiers that come out of the doorway in the background. Roll through the next door, grab the throwable, slice through the door and enemy, slash the next enemy, and then roll behind the final two to kill them with one attack.

Open the next door, throw your throwable, roll, and then attack, picking up the Molotov from the table as you pass it. Go up the stairs, slash the enemy to the right, look left to deflect the bullet shot at you, and throw the Molotov. This room took me a while to get down, but you’ll get it down if you practice it.

Studio 6-11

Katana Zero Speedrun Prison

You then should take the elevator to Quiet Hills. The first screen is pretty basic, with all of the enemies being killable by rolling and attacking once you reach them. It has a good rhythm to it that you should be able to get down after a few tries. Grab the knife, jump, and slash up to kill the first two enemies in the second area.

Then, deflect two shots to kill the next enemies behind the first door. After you open the next door, in quick succession, throw the throwable, deflect two shots, roll, and then slash the last enemy.

Roll back to the elevator and take it to the lobby. Slash through the first two enemies and pick up the bust as you pass it. Go up the stairs and kill the enemy there before turning left and throwing the bust to kill the enemy coming down the stairs. Pick up the Molotov and throw it at the door to your right to kill the enemies behind it.

Grab the smoke grenade, open the door and kill the first enemy, and then throw the smoke grenade at the group of enemies so that you can roll in and kill them easily. For the boss’s level, roll behind him and knock him down.

Then, stand inside him, and right after he finishes his get-up animation, hit him again. Hit him four times and then let yourself take damage to finish the level.

Mansion 1-3

At the start of Mansion, jump and attack three times upward to glide forward and kill the first enemy. Then, get beneath the second and jump up and kill him. Go on the rope and drop down to kill the two enemies on the right first, followed by the one on the left. Then, open the door and throw the throwable to kill the enemy with the gun.

Slash your way through the next door, kill the first enemy behind it, roll, and kill the second. Then, throw the throwable at the top of the stairs to kill the enemy across the gap.

On the next screen, drop down the skylight, attack the boss, roll left to kill the leftmost enemy, roll back the right to kill the rightmost enemy, and then kill the enemy to your left.

Pick up the smoke grenade and continue. Cut your way through the next enemies, using the smoke grenade on the second to last enemy at the bottom of the stairs.

Roll and slash your way through on the next screen, and fall through the floor immediately, so the gunshot kills the enemy instead of you.

Pick up the Molotov and throw it to your left before climbing back up and killing the last enemy when you drop down. The next screen is straightforward; make sure to pick up the potted plant at the start and use it on the first enemy behind the door by the explosive barrels.

Mansion 4-6

Katana Zero Speedrun

The next screen is also pretty straightforward. Just roll and slash your way to the top right to get the Molotov, drop down and kill the two enemies there, and then break the platform there and throw the Molotov into the bottom room. The next screen is very simple, so roll and slash through the enemies however you want to.

You can then skip the cutscene at the end of the room by mashing your skip button as you leave the room since there is only a one-frame window to skip the replay at the end of the level.

For the fight against Kissface, grab the katana immediately and then reset the screen to skip his dialogue. You have to fight the boss in the standard way to get to the motorcycle screen.

The easiest way to get through this section is to hug the edges of the screen by where enemies are marked to be coming so that you can kill them when they first appear and use throwables whenever possible.

At the points where the backgrounds change, you should also reload the section to skip the transition section and save time. Finally, deflect the shots from the helicopter to kill it. Once it is killed, get as far left as possible to save two seconds.

Chinatown 1-4

For the first screen of Chinatown, pick up the bottle, open the door, and roll behind the first enemy to kill him. Drop out the window, throw the bottle to your left, and then deflect the bullet from your right to kill the other two enemies.

Jump up to the top floor of the second building and cut your way through those enemies, rolling between them to avoid any gunfire.

Just slash the enemies as fast as possible on the second screen and avoid the drones above you. On the next screen, go right and jump to deflect the first shot and hit the drone downward to cause an explosion. Then, kill the enemies to your right and jump your way up the floors of the building on the right.

In the arcade screen, get to the bottom floor as fast as and throw down the smoke. In the smoke, kill all enemies by you and then jump up to the second floor, grab the Molotov and throw it to the right to kill the last two enemies. 

Chinatown 5-9

On the next screen, take out the enemies on the top floor first, run to the right to hit the drone downward, and then kill the enemy to your left, using the smoke grenade for cover if you need it.

Then, grab the bottle at the start of the next section, jump up and kill the second guard before cutting the first behind you when you land. Then, drop down to kill the enemy with the shield, jump up to kill the enemy on the middle floor, and kill the remaining enemies when they come out of the car.

On the screen with the S.W.A.T. vans, go to the right behind the second van. Wait for both enemies to exit the fan to kill them with one strike and then use the two throwables to kill the other two after they spawn.

On the next screen, you want to cut your way through to the top of the building to grab the smoke grenade before dropping down and throwing it on the bottom floor to kill the remaining enemies in it easily.

When you get to where you play as Dragon, it is all about fast movement and taking advantage of the game’s fundamentals. You can kill shield enemies with the dash even if they’re looking at you, so make sure to dash through all groups of enemies, and you’ll get through this level quickly with just a few practice runs.


Katana Zero Speedrun Slaughterhouse

The first screen of Slaughterhouse is very straightforward, so grab the first lamp, roll your way through it, and kill the last enemy with the throwable to save some time. Roll twice to get behind the first enemy and kill him when the second screen loads in. The next room is also straightforward.

Just grab the throwable and use it after you open the door at the end of the first hallway. Then, grab the smoke, drop it down, and use the smoke to kill the last two enemies.

On the next screen, flip the switch to turn on the crushers and then roll and slash through the level. make sure to grab the smoke at the start, though, to use them on the shield enemies at the end.

You then need to reset at the start of the next room, then jump up and kill the enemies there and move right, so the crushers kill the two enemies below. Pick up the knife and throw it through the door to your right to kill the enemy behind it.

Then, on the third floor, kill the enemy above your left but stay on the third floor. Run to the right, killing enemies as you go, and throw the smoke grenade at the top of the stairs to deal with the last guards.

Once you move on, roll, pick up the throwable, open the door, throw the throwable, roll again, and then deflect the bullet to kill the guard up top. You can then drop down and progress through the level normally, using the conveyor belt to group the guards on top to kill them with one attack.

On the next screen, drop down and use the Molotov to explode the barrels to the left and head right with rolls and slashes before jumping up to kill the enemy there.

Then, on the top floor, kill the enemies to the left and then to the right. Open the door and bump the shield enemy into the laser. Finally, throw the bomb to the left and detonate it to kill the last enemy.

For the next section, you want to start rolling right at the start of the first conveyor belt to make it through the room without a cutscene. For the room after that, start rolling right above the pipe below you, and then you’re done with Slaughterhouse.

Bunker 1

The first room of the bunker is very easy, kill the enemy and get into the elevator. The next screen is simple enough to get through with basic movement and attacks, make sure to use the first throwable.

You can time the rolls to avoid all of them perfectly and get to the switch for the laser room. This took me a few tries, but once you get the hang of it, it is easy to replicate.

In the next room where you exit the elevator, roll inside the shield enemy by rolling with no other inputs and then use a slash to kill all three. Follow that up with another roll and the throwable to kill the last two and then move on.

Kill the two bottom enemies on the next screen, throw the Molotov up at the wall below the breakable platform, and then roll up the stairs and kill the last two remaining guards. Then, roll through the next room to get past the enemy on the turret.

Following that, weave between the bottom and top of the next room to weave through the enemies. Then, roll through the next room, which is a straight hallway.

In the next room, where there are lasers right away, kill the first enemy, roll behind the second two to kill them, pick up the lamp, and then deflect the bullet from the enemy at the top of the stairs. Drop down to kill the enemy on the left and the turret, roll right, slash, pause for a bit, and then kill the second enemy.

Then, for the next screen, kill the first two enemies, jump and kill the enemy above, and then jump to make the camera face away from you.

Pick up the bomb in front of the metal door, open the wood door, slash the first enemy, roll to the right and slash your way back to the left through the enemies. Finally, open the last door and kill yourself with the bomb to skip the next cutscene.

Bunker 2

Katana Zero Speedrun

The first screen of Bunker 2 is rather straightforward, so pick up the bust at the start and then roll and slash your way through the floors, using the throwable on the enemy before the smoke grenade to pick that up use it on the last enemies.

Use rolls and slashes to get through on the second screen, and use your throwable immediately after opening the second door. then, Use the bomb at the top of the stairs while you stay below and use the lasers to kill the shield enemy. The rest of the screen is then a straightforward series of rolls, slashes, and throwables.

On the next screen, reset once at the start to get the enemies in an optimal position. Open the first door and deflect the bullet rather than slash him. Then, deflect the second shot, and make your way through the rest of the screen by rolling and slashing enemies.

Just use the smoke grenade on the top right room so that you can pick up the throwable there and use it to kill the last enemy. This room is incredibly hard because of its length, but if you run through it enough time you will get it down and find the right flow.

For the boss fight in Bunker 2, you’ll need to play through it multiple times to memorize the enemy spawns in the doorways. That way you can wait for enemies to come out and kill them immediately. Once you fall down, run to the right and hit the boss once before running left beneath the turrets.

Jump up to kill the turrets and then wall jump to the right to hit the boss in the middle of the ceiling. After that, use wall jumps on the left wall to avoid the lasers and hit her above where the turrets were before.

That will kill her, and just make sure to use a downward slash to make sure her head doesn’t go too far away so that you can pick it up faster.


Question: What is the World Record Speedrun for Katana Zero?

Answer: The world record for playing all chapters is currently 15 minutes and 17 seconds, and is held by speedrunner Lastnumb3r

Question: How do You Unlock Speedrun Mode in Katana Zero?

Answer: Speedrun Mode is optimized for speedrunners of the game, and it is unlocked after beating it normally once.

Question: Does Katana Zero have a Hard Difficulty?

Answer: Yes, the hard mode for Katana Zero is accessed in the Speedrun Mode menu after beating the game.

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