Save the Ninja Clan is a 2D platformer from developer Willz which is set to release on Nintendo Switch at the end of the month and is already available on most of the other big platforms.
One of the games main selling points is that you can play in two different ways, story mode or alternative story. In the standard story mode you must fight your way through 30 unique levels in an attempt to free your friends who have been kidnapped by an evil ninja. Erm and that’s basically it for the story, simple, standard but effective. The aim is to traverse each level and collect the sacred scrolls in order to find your friends and save them. Throughout the story you can switch play between three different ninjas, each of which has his own set of specialty moves. Green ninja has a double jump, Purple Ninja has a sprint, and the Grey Ninja has a dash with temporary invincibility. In the alternate story mode you attempt to annoy the Game Manager by finding secrets or bugs in all non boss levels. Eventually he will get tired of you breaking the current level and send you off to the next one.
Another great addition is designed for the speed players among us with the inclusion of an in-game clock which is present in the corner of the screen and tracks exactly how long you have been on each level. The game also tracks a whole heap of other stats, disappointingly for me it tracks the number of deaths and needless to say mine were pretty high. I’d like to think that if there was a competition for the highest number of deaths I would be world champion.
The game is set up for casual players but that doesn’t last long as the difficulty ramps up as you progress through each level. The game is very reminiscent of Super Meat Boy and can quickly become infuriating when the end goal is in sight but you just can’t make it there alive. I guess its part of what makes this so addictive and challenging. You have the option to adjust the game speed either way if you are finding it too easy or hard which certainly helped me on a number of occasions. The option to watch replays at the end of a level allows you to bask in glory or cry in defeat.
There are a number of collectables in the game and items to unlock, such as knife modifications, which will keep you coming back to find them all. You can even get a secret ending which unlocks something secret but you will need to work that one out yourself! The graphics are simple but serve the purpose, the game looks clean and fresh with enough variation in each level design to mix things up. There is a certain pleasure in watching your ninja explode in a bloodbath when hit by a buzz saw, the game can be really brutal at times. It controls very well and is responsive, it needs to be tight given the difficulty spike towards the end.
There is enough on offer to make this worth a look, especially if you enjoyed Super Meat Boy. It’s a challenge on the cheap if that is what you are looking for.