I tend to stray away from the entire Metroid genre but the Ninja Metroid genre? That’s another story. Enter Kunai. Developed by TurtleBlaze and published by The Arcade Crew, Kunai is a 2D ninja Metroid platformer. This game has a unique art style that I cannot find a comparison for. It didn’t delve into the Metroid genre as deep as other games due and I enjoyed that very much. Let’s dig in.
Tabby is the innocent main character with a tablet for a head, whose soul came from an ancient warrior hence the ninja skills. Tabby follows the chief’s orders without batting an eye and seems very gullible. Smiling all the time and making overjoyed faces, only to scowl and grin when attacking enemies. The back and forth facial expressions are funny and add some humour to the game. For whatever reason likely to add more humour, hats are hidden in the game for Tabby to find and wear. At first I did not think the hats were necessary, but it was fun to find the hidden hats. I did not seek out to find every hat but it’s there for the players I want to. What I did enjoy was finding heart pieces. Find four and extend Tabby’s light bar, that is fantastic. I found eight or more to gain two extra smidgens of health.
A vibrant comic book look.
The art style is the first thing that drew me into Kunai, in addition to the name. The game has a bold and vibrant comic book look to it with cutscenes to back up that statement. Each area has a small set amount of colours they work with and they do very well with each chosen palette. It’s different from any other game I’ve been playing and I love it. With the power of Google, I found out that Kunai means something like a garden blade which our protagonist uses to traverse rocky areas.
Upgrades and abilities can be found after completing particular areas or downloading them from a router with currency collected in-game. I loved that Tabby had to download new abilities from the router and the player had to wait and watch the loading bar fill. At some point, a forge Master is met that can upgrade Tabby’s blade. I believe it can be upgraded three times but I only managed to upgrade it once before completing the game. I did not want to return to base since I was at the final boss and simply purchased abilities instead.
With each enemy defeated small red squares will erupt and the player must collect them. An upgrade can be purchased that will attract them to our character but they must be somewhat nearby. Enemies consist of robots that roll spin fly and shoot. The big bad boss Lemonkus wants to save Earth by eliminating all humans and our team simply will not allow that to happen. BOSS BATTLES initially felt like an avoidance game then shifted into actual battle. This was confusing at first but once I beat a few bosses I understood what to expect. Some were easy, some were medium difficulty, but all had variety and were fun to defeat.
Seven bosses in total and I think The Garbage Collector is the final boss. Lemonkus has a swooping attack and blade weapon. The guardian boss starts with the player being required to traverse the area to avoid a sphere boss attacks and ends with an erupted robot shooting electricity. Furious Ferro is a moving lamp oil blob that requires use of the SMG weapons. The Deprecator turns the stage into a moving level and requires the player to move forward while avoiding attacks. Zensei’s fight pushes tabby off the top of a mountain with each attack only to climb up the mountain while avoiding its minion. Popo was another interesting boss fight moving left and jumping from flying car to flying car. They all required the player to different skills and strengths and were fun in their own way.
Spider-Man my way through.
The controls felt good, the only problem I had was with using the Kunai with the right momentum. Other than that it was fun to use Kunai in both hands ready to Spider-Man my way through an area. The dash ability came a bit later in the game that was really fun to use in fights and moving around quicker. Once I obtained the SMGs I thought those would remain my favourite until I found the missile launcher. That thing is a beast. It made quick work of enemies while gaining money faster.
Music is head nod worthy and my favourite was in the Zen area. Sound effects were entertaining, fitting, and satisfying. Each sword slash and enemy downed was more music to my ears. Shooting down a load of baddies with the missile launcher was poetry in motion. Give me that money!
I was worried about this being a Metroid back and forth type game but I only found myself at a loss, twice. If possible call the chief or return to base and speak with him for a hint.
Kunai is a fun game to play for those not interested in a difficult Metroid game with tons of back and forth. The art style was my favourite portion of the game with the cutscenes being a massive highlight.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Nintendo
Release Date: 06/02/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Action, Platformer
Publisher: The Arcade Crew
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop