NINJAMURAI / Open Emotion Studios / PSP

Ninjamurai is really barely one step better than a Klik N' Play game. It's a clumsy, amateurish project that looks like someone's first effort; not the sort of thing you normally like to savage, but hey, they're the ones that released it into the wild trying to charge money for it, and once you do that the gloves are off.

It's a side-scrolling ninja game, sort of generally referential to all popular side-scrolling ninja games without really particularly aping a specific one. Given the fast and slidey movement I felt the gameplay really resembled early Sonic the Hedgehog more than anything else; just picture Sonic with immensely worse level design and a terrible triangle jump (that's even more frustrating and counterintuitive than the one in Super Metroid) and you're most of the way there.

Aside from slidey controls and clumsy enemy interaction (you tend to accelerate into them too fast, then slide right through their incorporeal bodies; the ancient NES technique of having them not respond at all physically to your hits is in play as well), button-press attack lag drags the game down, as well as confusing level design. A big part of levels is having to slide down walls, but it's often not clear if you're supposed to be sliding down a particular wall to advance, or if doing so will arbitrarily drop you to your death. And don't get me started on trying to jump off janky ramps.

The whole cake is topped off with really ugly art; I never understand the design decision to use this in these retro-styled games, it seems to me that 8-bit pixel art would not be all that much more complex to use, and it would look a hell of a lot cleaner and better. I'd describe the art style in this game most aptly as "plasticy Flash vomit."

This isn't even worth $1. This is a trainwreck of a game that should have never been released except as a freeware demo on some obscure programmers Geocities page back in the late 90s or something.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video