The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors Switch Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: Taito

Publisher: ININ Games/PR Hound

Release Date: 30/08/2019

Price as of Article: £16,99 or £25,99 for a physical copy which comes with a manual. 

Game code provided By Publisher 

Story

Ninja Saviors has punched its way on to the Switch, this lovingly remastered title is a classic beat em up from the SNES and arcade hay day but is it any good? I’m James Romero here at switch watch, let’s jump in and find out!

Back in 1987 Taito were pushing the boundaries of arcade machines and a title called Ninja Warriors was released on a 3 screen machine, it looked and sounded great featuring a well loved zuntata soundtrack, 7 years later a sequel came out named Ninja Warriors Again that added characters, improved graphics and more – it was released on the SNES in 1994.
All these years later and the title is back once again, the concept is simple enough – take a nostalgic title, spruce up the graphics, add some modern features and release it. The story in the game never really was a big feature and isn’t here, you play as one of a number of cyborgs against an evil force across 8 levels. It has a kind of terminator meets street fighter feel to it that oozes class but doesn’t really come to the fore – perhaps a bit more could of been made of it but that’s not the point in a game like this.

Gameplay

Where other games like streets of rage had the illusion of 3D by including multiple planes, Ninja Saviors opts for a different take – it focuses on a single plane, instead throwing enemies against you in waves and in return arming you with lots of moves to beat them up with – more on those shortly.

You choose one of 3 characters, Ninja, a beefy tank and slow cyborg that makes up for his lack of pace with nunchucks and power. Kunoichi a speedy ninja that throws stars and jumps around, she is squishy but agile and Kamaitachi a middle sized cyborg that slashes enemies to pieces quickly with his blade arms.Later on you can unlock two additional new characters that bring their own skills.

The game takes place over 8 stages in a side scrolling arcade style, you take out waves of enemies before moving on and at the end of each stage there is a boss to beat. The game at first run isn’t too difficult and will take you a couple of hours maybe to complete with dying a few times along the way, the catch is your run is timed and if you die your run won’t continue to time you. You can still complete the game but it won’t count towards that all important run time.
Once you complete the game you will unlock hard mode and the first new character – yaksha, straight out of Nintendo’s arms she uses extendable limbs to bash her enemies with.

The controls are superb, at first it feels like a button basher – keep hitting attack but you soon realise you need to mix in throws, blocks, evasive attacks and each characters specials to perform well.

Each character plays differently and has their strengths, there are nuanced moves as well – grab and then hit another button whilst holding sideways with ninja will throw enemies sideways whilst pressing down will break them over your knee.

With Kamaitachi holding block and then jumping will perform a flip and allow you to get around enemies.
Enemy variety is pretty good from generic minions to big beefy robots and drones that drop bombs on you, each of the different characters takes these on in their own way.


Multiplayer is of course new here and it’s a blast, bashing enemies together – one taking the front and the other the back for example is exactly what you want when playing together on a couch and given the game is easy to pick up and play it’s perfect for this purpose, the only real gripe is that it’s all over a bit too quickly, which is where leaderboards, hard mode and time attack come in to play. Each character has a leader board per level and one for an overall game run both in normal and hard modes, time attack is simple enough and runs won’t take much longer than two minutes making it a nice way to play on the move. The game plays well either with the D Pad or analog sticks and looks lovely in handheld mode as well.

style="display:block; text-align:center;" data-ad-layout="in-article" data-ad-format="fluid" data-ad-client="ca-pub-5661714653949151" data-ad-slot="5669732186">
Audio

Zuntata are Taito’s house band and produced tracks on epics such as bubble bobble and the Darius series. Here there work is excellent once again, the music is upbeat and so easy to listen to that it doesn’t get old or boring, there’s a hint of robotic in these synth pop tracks that fits the dystopian setting really well. In a game like this it’s essential to get the music right and they have done just that. The sound effects are equally satisfying, explosions crunches and grunts at the order of the day.

Visuals and Performance

One thing that stands out is how cool the game looks, the team making this remaster have done the basics well – making it fit 16:9 without any oddness, scaling characters correctly etc but the little touches are both old school and very cool. When you die for example your body blows up revealing your inner circuits looking fresh out of the terminator, defeating a boss slows die time in an awesome effect that feels like you’ve achieved something.

The characters and backgrounds are all carefully crafted, there’s even a setting to enable “red effects” to male things look a bit more gory. Performance wise I’m pleased to report no issues, I didn’t experience any troubles, slow downs or other gripes.

Value

A digital copy will set you back £16.99 in the UK, €19.99 in Europe and is coming to the US on October the 15th due to an issue sadly though of course if you are buying digital you can pick it up from any eShop country.
The physical edition is lovely looking complete with a physical manual and ninja star – this will be around £26 and looks like a nice one for a collection.

It’s a fantastically fun game that’s well polished and takes a classic game and doesn’t mess with it, it just adds things like coop and leaderboards. It would have been nice to see additional stages as the game is quite short but I feel it’s worth it personally.

Pros

Awesome visuals 

Superb action gameplay 

Cons

Just a little expensive