The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors Review – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: NatsumeAtari

Published By: ININ Games

Reviewed By: ChickenPerm

Thank you so much to ININ Games/PR Hound for providing a review code

Story/History

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is developed by NatsumeAtari and produced by ININ Games. The title is a reboot of one the highest regarded Japanese side-scrolling beat ‘em ups ever made. So, before we delve into the review, let’s take a travel back in time (I am writing this on Back to the Future Day, 10/21, so it is only appropriate) to revisit the original that helped put an entire genre on the map.

Insert your favorite time travel pop culture reference here. The year is 1987; Taito Corporation has released The Ninja Warriors to arcades with a very unique cabinet. It featured three continuous screens to create of a single triple widescreen. Perhaps you may remember a similar arcade setup used by Konami for the six-player X-Men arcade game. The reception overall was very positive.

Insert your next favorite time travel pop culture reference here. In 1994, Natsume develops a follow-up to the arcade hit called The Ninja Warriors Again for the SNES. It has been considered both a remake and sequel of the original arcade version. Once again the game is well received, but nothing is done with the trend-setting series since. Our journey is over it is time to return to the present.

One last time travel reference for good measure to return home.
Here we are back home safe and sound to 2019. I hope you snagged a copy of the SNES version of The Ninja Warriors Again because it is now quite a collector’s item. Can you believe that it took a quarter of a century for such an iconic series to be resurrected? The Tyrant Banglar is back ruling the dystopian future with an iron first and it is up to the three robot ninjas, built by a rebel faction, to put a stop to his reign of terror.

New Features (from Game’s page on Nintendo)
-Two new ninjas to play as (have to be unlocked)
-Fully revised side-scrolling arcade brawling
-Individual unique moves for each ninja
-New 16-bit pixel art graphics and animations
-Revamped sound of TAITO’s legendary in house band ZUNTANA
-Online ranking system
-Couch co-op

Okay let’s begin the review

Gameplay

A side-scrolling beat ‘em up game, need I say more? Okay, I will because each android ninja controls differently. Ninja is a slow, but powerful option equipped with a nunchaku and jetpack because it cannot jump. Kamaitachi is quick but weak wielding sickles. The balanced option is Kunoichi attacking with knives. I found them all to be more valuable to use in certain areas over the other, but Kamaitachi was my preferred warrior of choice.

At the bottom of the screen there is an obvious health bar and below that is the robot’s special meter that fills up on its own over time. Once the special meter is full you can unleash a handy full-screen attack or you can use portions of the meter to do unique moves.

At the start of the game, all the enemies were incredibly weak and the game seemed like a cakewalk. I did not die once until about the fourth level. Then, the game took a 180-degree turn for me. It was not that the difficulty ramped up but that the AI’s unfairness was cranked to 11. Every enemy has a period of invincibility when they get up from the ground, but not visually demonstrated by them flashing. So, they will be point-blank in front of you but you cannot harm them until they hit you first. When you get knocked to the ground your special meter is completely emptied as well. I just found the, further along, I went in the game the more frustrating the game became and not, because of the difficulty, but more the design choices.

The ninjas only travel forwards and backward as in just right and left. I did not enjoy playing on a singular plane because it made the gameplay a bit too basic for my taste. A great addition to the game is the option for couch co-op play but why not online multiplayer? After you beat each level you unlock other modes including a hard mode as well as two brand new ninjas to play as, so there’s definitely some replay value.

Presentation

There was nothing to dislike in either category here. The scenery absolutely looks like a near-future in ruins. The music is superbly remastered and I was very happy with each tune. The ninja, enemies, and bosses all differ more than enough too. The game is described as a vibrant 16-bit style beat em up and they 100% deliver on that. I really liked what The Ninja Saviors had to offer to my eyes and ears.

Summary

I believe that fans of the series will absolutely love having this reboot in their collection. However, I had never heard of the series and was honestly not very impressed with The Ninja Saviors. In regards to beat ‘em ups I am a huge fan of Streets of Rage 2 and TMNT: Turtles in Time and just no other title in the genre have lived up to those two for me. I was not really a fan of how the ninjas walk in a single straight path. Some of the enemies, specifically bosses and the front armored robot, are incredibly obnoxious considering how the ninjas are able to move. Do not get me wrong though, it is amazing that the series has been revived and looks and sounds spectacular. The price point is fair but definitely, a must get if ever on sale. You can also get this physically and looks to be a beauty to have in your collection. Overall this a worthwhile buy for those who are established fans of the beat em up genre.

7/10

Pros

  • Nice Reboot of a Beloved Series
  • Spectacular Visuals 7 Sound Design
  • New Content & 2 Player Couch Co-op is a Great Addition

Cons

  • AI Starts Off Too Easy & Becomes Unfair During Later levels
  • Walking on a Single Straight Path Felt Restricting

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