Thanks to Sometimes You for the review code
Title: Save the Ninja Clan
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 04/27/2018
In this action platformer, you take control of a Ninja who must rescue his kidnapped friends from an evil Ninja, while also coming across a strange programmer every now and then. It’s as basic of a plot as you can get.
At first glance, this game may remind you a lot of Scribblenauts, looking as if it was made in a similar art style, but in motion the game’s just an unpolished wreck. Incredibly dull animations, boring backgrounds and awful music makes this game a big eyesore to play. The good news is that the game’s zoomed out in such a way that it’s very easy to see the hazards coming your way, and you can adjust the speed of the game at will in the options menu.
The main gimmick of Save the Ninja Clan is to go through the three worlds of the game, controlling one of three ninjas with different abilities. The green one has a double jump, the blue one can dash and the red one can phase through walls and other things you can’t jump over. Each world has a ninja as the main focus, and in the end the game’s level design revolves around the one that particular world focuses on.
Unfortunately, there are several things in this game that just make it dreadful to play. The biggest by far is that there’s no D-Button support, and you must use the joystick for movement. While this would work in platformer with eight-way dashing and the life, it doesn’t work at all in STNC, and multiple times I remember wishing I could just use the D-Pad for movements. The next major issue is that some levels are very inconsistent in their difficulty. One level may be a total cakewalk where the optional medal is very easy to get, but the next may jump up so high that you pretty much have to memorize every little thing to progress, before it goes back to easy and boring. Thankfully, all these levels are pretty short so they don’t overstay their welcome, but it drove me insane at points because of how inconsistent it was.
There is one good thing about the levels that manages to keep the game somewhat interesting however, and that comes from the secret “Error Areas.” Sometimes if you go off the beaten path, the game’s background will blank out and you’ll be taken to a secret route where a programmer talks to the player. Usually these segments include really tough challenges that do random things such as reversing the player’s controls or invisible platforms, but if you clear these segments the entire level gets skipped over. For a game that doesn’t bother doing anything original, I’m at least glad they tried to make something interesting to compensate, and these alt routes feel more consistent in their difficulty than the main levels. When you beat a stage the normal way, you do get to see all your attempts replayed back in real time, which is neat but not something that I would say makes the normal routes preferable over the secret ones.
In conclusion, Save the Ninja Clan was a pretty painful experience. Awful level design, a hideous presentation and a short, boring adventure made me lose interest in the game real fast. The only things STNC really has in its favor are the alternate routes, and in general this game just came off as a really poor rush job that had no purposes being the way it is in the slightest. Combine that with a baffling control scheme and you have a platformer that just isn’t fun to play.
I give Save the Ninja Clan a 4 out of 10.