Ever reminisced on the days spent playing the old fighting games in the arcades, and hoping one day to own a similar game to carry around in your own hands?Wait no more, because it seems that developers Inin Games have achieved just that with latest release Ninja Saviors:Return Of The Warriors, and it’s an absolute gem!!
A retro16-bit side scrolling “beat em up” is what’s on offer here, and is apparently the 3rd reboot version of an arcade game that was around in the 1990s, although hands up, I don’t remember it.
There is a story in this game about a corrupt organisation led by an evil tyrant(who you know is going to be the final boss!) and a mission for one of your 3 available characters to bring down the empire, by basically dishing out a knuckle sandwich to everything and anything that moves towards you over a game length of some 8 levels/areas.
Character wise, there is no steroid infused lumberjack look-alike or street fighter Ryu clone, but as the title suggests, a choice of 3 playable Ninja robot fighters with each having a different move set list and special attack move, with a further 2 characters unlocked on game completion.
Side scrolling through each area, your character will face all types of enemy resistance. The standard army type soldiers, ninja women with high flying blade swipes, a big gold robot that can still keep attacking whilst headless, a strangely similar guy to Captain Scarlet, and some rolling neanderthal looking creatures with blade fingers that look like an anaemic Blanka from Street Fighter!
Moving around and fighting is just glorious, with the ability to deal punches and kicks to your adversaries filling up a “special attack” gauge, and once hitting “MAX”, pulling off a devastating attack that clears any enemy on the entire screen.
You can hold enemies and throw them around like rag dolls, and also pick up objects like cases, barrels and gas cannisters to throw at groups of enemies for an instant headache or an explosion that will administer an instant suntan without the need for creams or a sunbed!
I must say that from the early days of playing these games in the arcades and up to now, that very feeling of throwing an object to send enemies flying backwards, feels equally as satisfying now than it did back then.
Naturally retro and through each level/areas final screen comes a boss. These bosses have different moves and patterns, requiring planning and strategy from the punch ups experienced up to this point,and are varied enough to make each solo battle feel compelling and satisfying.
Graphically everything is beautifully rendered with little details in the way the damage is dealt out. For example the gold robot after taking plenty of damage, will start to implode internally until 2 little explosions blows both its arms off! There are rocket attacks that shower down leaving explosions that can take out anything under it with flames and puffs of smoke, and considering there is a robot thing going with any of your characters, depleting your armour renders your bot to burn black and blow body parts in every direction! So even in death, you just have to admire the many animations.
Modes are the standard solo run-through against the clock, with each area completed unlocking a “Time Attack” mode for selection at a later time. There is the option to go online and play the game entirely with completion times entered onto a global leaderboard, which also applies to any of the time attack areas that you have previously unlocked,2 player local Co-Op,and then with 2 other characters to play through with, there certainly is incentive to replay the game after first completion.
If there are any small gripes,in “normal difficulty” mode especially, the game is rather easy! Even when confronting the many bosses, there isn’t too much trouble in depleting their energy bars until death and moving on to the next area.
Dying anywhere in the game, also takes you back to a constant “continue” menu that doesn’t carry a standard count until game over, meaning you can progress constantly from the level where you last died.So considering the soft difficulty here, I would have liked to have had an option to choose the number of continues or even a permadeath option.
As far as areas/levels go, there are 3 to 4 screens per area and only 8 in total, meaning that to a lot of people, the game length is decidedly short!
Aside from that though, there is a great and massively enjoyable game. If you are like me and at the middle age status of remembering the old retro 16-bit arcade classics and revisiting games like Final Fight, Streets of Rage, Double Dragon you can be guaranteed to be filled with the added warming inner feeling of nostalgia with each playthrough.With no slowdown, and the option to either practice the button sequences of each move list or just, like me, decide to button mash your way to the end, it’s all here and developers Inin have done a fantastic job with a game that comes highly recommended..
Glorious retro beat em up for an old or new generation of players to experience!
Thanks to Inin for the code.