Save The Ninja Clan is the latest release from Developer Willz and Publisher Sometimes You, it is a challenging 2D side scrolling platformer released on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
I’m sure most of us can agree that the general reason we all game is that we like to experience the thrills and excitement of things that in truth could never happen to us in the real world, we like to feel we are super-human to a degree, hunting down villains, killing hordes of monsters/zombies, or even playing as the number 1 striker for our favourite football team. Well, firstname.lastname@example.org takes those ideas and thoughts then proceeds to crush them without mercy. This game is truly designed to make you realize that you are not super-human in any way and it wants to beat you into submission, doesn’t that sound fun? well that’s what were here to find out.
A brief outline of the story to this game is that an evil ninja has kidnapped your friends, to find them and save them you must collect sacred scrolls that are spread throughout multiple levels filled with numerous perils.
As I mentioned earlier Save The Ninja Clan is a side scrolling platformer with challenges around every corner, it reminds me a lot of Super Meat Boy from back in 2015 which isn’t a bad thing at all. Every level has its own challenges and multiple ways to overcome them as well as a built in ‘cheat’ method that I particularly like. It has a very simple control system that fits very nicely with the style of the game, let’s be honest those of us that can remember the 80s and early 90s platform titles from the Atari/C64 or even the Sega Master System can appreciate the fun that can be had with simplistic controls.
One of the things that I find very appealing in this title is that it really doesn’t take itself seriously. The term ‘100 ways to die’ comes to mind and while they will be infuriating they will also make you laugh over and over again.
A particularly unique part of the game that I found to be very enjoyable is that the game actually wants you to cheat. I mentioned earlier about there being multiple ways to beat a level, the ‘cheat’ is one of them. What I like about this is the introduction of the ‘Game Manager’ who has some particularly sarcastic comments to the way you’re trying to cheat that show up in the form of a MS DOS style PC ‘pop up’ and he throws a few curve balls in to put you off.
There is one issue with the game that I feel can be somewhat annoying, especially with a game of this style, there were a number of times where the game simply refused to respond to the controls fast enough and this added to the difficulty and frustration at times as well as increased my death toll by a significant number (I won’t admit how high).
For those of you older gamers that remember the days when gaming was more about the enjoyment of what you could do over how amazing something looked, this game will give you that nice nostalgic feeling of a bygone era. However, if your more accustomed to the current gen ‘movie style’ game look this may be a bit of a shock to the system.
For me the beauty of this game lies completely in the simplicity of its style, the cartoon like backdrops with the 8-bit pixel style level graphics sitting in front of it remind me very much of an Angry Birds look (and we all know how popular that series of games has been).
Note: This game does contain copious amounts of gore, purely in a comedy style
(Think Bruce Campbell – Evil Dead)
The Music for this game is provided by multiple artists, all of which in my opinion deserve credit. The music provides both an oriental feel throughout the menus which fit with the overall theme of the game, but at the same time have kept it very simple so that it fits the retro look of the game, in my opinion not an easy task. There isn’t a great deal of music throughout the levels but what is there sits nicely behind the gameplay audio without drawing much attention.
I mentioned earlier about the game not taking itself overly seriously and this is evident in the audio as well as the gameplay, a few of the in-game sounds are quite comical and not realistic at all. This isn’t a flaw in my opinion as it adds to the overall charm of the game, for example (very minor spoiler alert) – during the intro the villain is supposed to provide a maniacal laugh but loses his breath half way through and ends up having an asthma attack which did make me smile.
Unfortunately, I think this may be where the game falls a little short, there are only half a dozen hours of gameplay here in order to finish the levels, there is a twinkle of hope there for completionists as there are 30 trophies to collect most of which will require multiple play throughs to acquire due to there being multiple methods of completing each level. That being said, if you’re a glutton for punishment then you may find yourself playing levels over and over just for the challenge, or if you have a few friends over it could make a rather interesting choice to see who buys the drinks.
Overall, I see Save The Ninja Clan as a game that will be good for speed runners, but can also be fun for the casual gamer who likes a challenge. It’s by no means an easy game but the comedic elements make it feel less frustrating at the lack of ability by the player. The problem for me is the lack of content here, it really doesn’t take that long to finish and personally unless I’m feeling nostalgic I don’t see myself playing it again any time soon which is a shame because I feel what is there is very well made for an Indie title.
The biggest question here is would I recommend the purchase? For the price tag, I would say if you are curious about the title it’s definitely worth the investment even if it turns out to be only for the experience of the single play through.
Save The Ninja Clan receives the Thumb Culture Silver Award with 6 out of 10.