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The Ninja Saviors: Return Of The Warriors

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 10 - 2019

Saving the world in a retro manner.

Back in the early console days, the scrolling beat ’em up was hugely popular at the arcades, so it made sense to drop loads of these style games onto the young console scene so players could replicate the experience at home. However, as time moved on and technology improved, the scrolling beat ’em up almost faded away as developers created far more complex experiences for their players. Tine continues to move on and, as is often the case, things seem to go full circle and the scrolling beat ’em up is having a bit of a come back, providing nostalgia for the older gamers while introducing the younger gamers to the joys of wandering to the right and laying a beat down on any enemies that may stand in their way. The latest game to offer this slice of retro fun is The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors from Taito on PS4 and Switch. Anyone who remembers The Ninja Warriors from back in the day, give yourself a Kudos point as it was not one of the biggest games of the time. Why the cast have moved on from simply being warriors to saviors for this remaster, who could say. But whatever the name, this is a very nicely polished remake with a couple of extras thrown in for fun.


The side-scrolling beat ’em up is not known for deep and meaningful storylines, and The Ninja Saviors is no different in that respect. However, there is a story there, one involving an evil dictator and his unstoppable army, leading to the creation of android ninjas that are the only hope for the world. That is as good as it gets, but then it doesn’t need any more than that. This is a game about constantly moving forward and wiping the floor with whatever enemies may cross the players path. Stories are for other games.

Players begin with a choice of three different ninjas to play as, and impressively they each play very differently. Kunoichi is probably the best choice for beginning, offering a balance of both power and speed that will let players learn the ropes and get to grips with the admittedly easy controls. However, there are also Ninja and Kamaitachi that players can select, giving them either a slow but powerful hero or a speedy, blade-wielding master of death to take on the dictator’s army. As already mentioned, each of these characters handles very differently and has their own moves for players to master and enjoy.

When it comes to the gameplay, it really doesn’t take long to get the hang of things. The player will move their character along each stage while enemies of various types will approach from either the left or right to try and stop them. There is only one plane to move along, making life even simpler, but many of the levels will mix things up by dropping in environmental factors, like falling missiles very early in the game. The enemies are varied in both how they look and how they attack, with some being tougher than others, and at the end of each stage the player will have to face off against an impressive boss with an impressive health bar that will take more than a little bit of effort to overcome.


Controlling your android ninja doesn’t take too much effort. There is only the one attack button, but by combining it with jumping, crouching and the like, a decent number of moves opens up to the player. Adding to their arsenal, a battery bar at the bottom of the screen will slowly fill up and power various moves, including a screen clearing move once the battery bar is filled up. However, being knocked to the ground will drain the bar if it was not already full, limiting the players options. The way that the Ninjas move is somewhat clunky, but this is something that players will expect from this genre of game, and to be honest the clunky movement plays into the rhythm of the game as they move from one attack to the next. Otherwise it is very smooth and easy to get into.

The game is not long and will only take a couple of hours to work through the eight stages once the player has mastered the mechanics. However, the fun doesn’t end there as there are leaders boards to measure up against and harder difficulty to try and master. There is even a multiplayer mode where two players can team up locally to defeat the dictator, although they do have a shared health bar so choose your ally wisely. There are also two brand new characters to unlock along the way, again coming with new moves and new weaknesses. Yaksha is a little ninja with extendable arms, making for some very interesting attacks, while Raiden is a huge ninja android with two different modes, one of which includes flying. They are both great additions and feel very different to the other cast, bringing new challenges to the game.


The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is unashamedly retro with a modern level of polish. While it will do nothing to convince those who don’t enjoy the side-scrolling beat ’em up that they are wrong, both new and older fans of the genre will have a lot of fun here. Sure, some of the bosses are tricky and the game is short, but The Ninja Saviors is one that genre fans will need in their library.




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