Title: The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors
Developer: ININ Games
Publisher: ININ Games
Genre: Action, Fighting, Beat ’em Up
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: PEGI 12+
Release Date: 30th August 2019
Price: £16.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. A saying which sums up exactly how, and why, this game has stayed so very true to its source material. Initially released for the arcades in 1987 under the title of “The Ninja Warriors”, the game was quickly ported to home consoles to capitalise on its success. In 1994 there was a sequel (or remake depending on how you look at it) created for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System under the same name. It would then be an agonising 25 years until the next time these ninjas would grace our screens; however, the wait was definitely worth it.
The Ninja Saviours: Return of the Warriors has the same plot as its SNES counterpart. You start the game choosing from one of three available ninjas, but these are no ordinary ninjas (one is over 700kg in weight for a start)…these are robot ninjas. During the game, you will fight your way through hordes of enemies, from foot soldiers to great hulking humanoid robots, as you make your way to fight the evil tyrant Banglar who controls the World Government. It sounds like something out of an Arnie movie, and it feels just like it. The only time the plot is shown to the player is during the intro and ending sequence. Aside from these two moments, it is non-stop action from start to finish.
Beat ‘em up games can often be a clunky mess. Unsure as to what plane you’re currently standing in and facing, attacked from angles you didn’t think possible, all the while battling an over the top control scheme. Thankfully, Ninja Saviours does not suffer from any of that. Presented in a 2D environment, the game is easily able to show you exactly who you’re fighting and what threats are coming up next. Aside from the standard controls, each character has their own move list.
While this may seem like a lot to remember, pausing the game will bring up the option to read the in-game manual which shows you exactly how to get the most of your Ninja. Each of the ninjas has unique abilities and traits that set them apart from the rest. The starting line up of Kunoichi, Ninja and Kamaitachi represent your all-rounder, powerhouse and speedy character types respectfully. Completing the game on normal difficulty will unlock Yaksha, who is a technically more complex character, as well as hard mode. Finish this, and you unlock Raiden, a hulking behemoth of a robot (400cm tall and 32000kg in weight) who is a force to be reckoned with. Combat is fun, fast and varied. Background elements can be used as weapons, and you can even use enemies are projectiles.
Little can describe the satisfaction in defeating an enemy by throwing another at them. Now let’s not get it twisted here, this game is hard. As soon as the game starts, there is a timer that counts up how long it takes you to complete each stage. Finishing a stage allows you to go back directly to that stage and push for faster and faster times. However, if you die in-game, you can use one of the unlimited amounts of continues you have at your disposal. Doing so means you can try again and again without issue, but the timer will stop counting. If you want to get a time for a whole single-player run through you better not let your health hit zero!
This game is gorgeous. What else can be said? The pixel art style fits so well, and each character looks unique. Even when the screen is full of enemies, you can easily distinguish what is going on. Enemies also come in multiple colours, denoting their difficulty. As for the audio, the soundtrack has been modernised and lost none of its charm in the process. From heavy guitars to thumping bass, the music matches the action to a tee. Completing the game unlocks the original arcade-style music which can be toggled on at the main menu, which is a nice touch.
I went into Ninja Saviours expecting to have a high octane thrill ride that took my senses on a trip back to my childhood, and I got just that! From the very moment the game starts up you know exactly what you’re in for. The visuals are stunning and the little tweaks to add to the retro vibe really help. This game has a soundtrack that has not aged at all, and the retro arcade audio that’s available sounds perfect be it in handheld mode or docked. It would’ve been nice to have a few more levels added after all this time, however, two new characters and option to play in co-op make up for it. If you’re a fan of games that are drenched in over the top 80s action, then this is definitely one not to sleep on!
Rapid Reviews Rating
The Ninja Saviours: Return of the Warriors can be purchased for the Nintendo Switch at the following link: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch/The-Ninja-Saviors-Return-of-the-Warriors-1621282.html
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.