Sometimes older things aren’t quite as good. Bread, for instance, is probably tastiest shortly after it’s baked. You definitely don’t want classic milk. And cheese…well, that’s a more complicated question. The point, though, is that sometimes the classics are a great choice. Video game nostalgia is a real and powerful thing. The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors, a remake of the Super Nintendo game The Ninja Warriors Again, takes that nostalgia, blends it up into a fine slurry, and injects it straight into your eyeballs. Let’s check it out.
When the country comes under the grip of an oppressive government, what do you do? Do you hold a new election? Form a resistance? No, you send cyborg ninjas to solve the problem. Whatever works, right? There’s plenty of baddies between your ninjas and the corrupt politician in charge, Banglar, though, so that means plenty of beating ’em up as you go.
You’ve got three ninjabots to start with and can unlock two more as you go. The basic options are the Ninja, a big Terminator-style bot focused on power, the Kunoichi, who’s balanced between speed and power and the Kamaitachi, a more alien robot that’s focused on technical attacks. Later you can unlock the Yaksha, who has extending limbs and needs to use them to actually hit anything, and the Raiden, who’s huge, slow and powerful even compared to the Ninja. Each character has a fairly wide movelist for this kind of game, making things a little more engrossing than your average side-scrolling brawler.
You’ll take your cyborg of choice through eight levels, taking out an army’s worth of baddies as you go. Regular enemies die in a single strike, while more dangerous foes will need your best combos if you want to prevail. This is still a 90s-style brawler, so it does tend to feel like there’s some cheap damage here and there; in particular, I found myself particularly irritated by the giant enemies that serve as the first boss and show up regularly thereafter, as they have massive damage and range so they’re particularly difficult to deal with. Still, if you enjoy games like Final Fight and Streets of Rage you’re going to be right at home here, especially if you can grab a friend for multiplayer.
The 90s comparison applies to The Ninja Saviors’ presentation as well. This game looks and feels like it came straight off the SNES – and that’s a compliment, don’t get me wrong, since it’s a remake of a Super Nintendo game. That applies to how the game plays as well, of course, so you’re going to have to get used to a slightly slower rhythm than today’s action games. That’s just part of the nostalgia, though, right?
Really, if you’re after nostalgia then you’re going to find it here. Fans of classic side-scrolling brawlers have found their white whale. If walking to the right and mashing attack is your thing, well, The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is here to provide. The fact that there’s a little more going on than just mashing attack? That’s a bonus.