The Ninja Saviors – Return of the Warriors is a remake of a game I never played, but you don’t need to feel any sort of nostalgia for the original The Ninja Warriors to get dragged into the sharp-looking, hectic, aggressive action title.
Banglar’s a tyrant with a seemingly-endless army of people willing to fistfight a 700KG ninja robot, and you’re out to pummel his face. You have five different playable ninja machines, with the usual slow/heavy hitter, fast nimble fighter, and middle of the road character to use to suit your play style. You can unlock two more characters (all new to this remake) that add even more play styles.
You really need to know your character well in The Ninja Saviors – Return of the Warriors, because, unlike other beat ‘em ups, this one has you fighting on a single plane. None of this moving up and down to avoid attacks and sneak into a better position. You’re always facing the enemy head-on, and this injects an incredible tension and energy into combat.
Many beat ‘em ups fall into a dance of playing with positioning so you can dodge attacks, but this title pushes for raw aggression instead. You always want to be in the enemy’s face and pummeling them, as you need to defeat foes fast as you’re always in danger. You can’t just shuffle a few steps downward to find a safe place, but instead can only relax when everyone’s defeated.
This aggressive combat style partially works because you can block, adding some defensive options, but mostly through smart use of your character’s attacks. Ninja, the heavy hitter, does a combo that strikes all around it, so if you see enemies coming up behind you, you’ll want to get a few hits into a combo to protect yourself. Each character also had a moveset that continually surprised me as I played, offering up more useful attacks that could keep me on the offensive.
This variety of attacks, as well as the pressure to keep attacking, kept The Ninja Saviors – Return of the Warriors from ever getting dull. I was always invested in every moment, using attacks intelligently rather than mashing the punch button. It’s deeply involved and deeply compelling.
It doesn’t hurt that the game features some great artwork and locales, as well as a stirring soundtrack that will keep you feeling pumped up. And you can bring a friend to the game’s co-op play, adding more robots to the mayhem.
The Ninja Saviors – Return of the Warriors’ highly-aggressive play style makes all other beat ‘em ups seem slow by comparison, creating a thrilling surge of constant danger and brutal fistfights.