Jonathan Lavigne, founder of PIXELTAO, an independent developer from Montreal, Quebec recently offered the world a free PC game on December 21st. It was definitely one of my favourite Christmas gifts this year. Ninja Senki is without a doubt the coolest retro game I’ve played since Mega Man 9. You’re probably thinking to yourself that my comment is quite the bold statement. Allow me to explain exactly why I feel this way about PIXELTAO’s 8-bit masterpiece.
Ninja Senki captures the feeling of what it was like to play a brand new game in the NES era. It offers a simple story; evil ninja demon kills a woman named Kinuhime and Hayate, blue ninja, wants nothing more than revenge. That’s the story, but it is more than enough motivation to proceed through the action, something that Ninja Senki certainly does not lack. It becomes clear early that this was built for gamers who want a challenge. While the ninja movements are kept simple, jumping and shurikens, using them to conquer the game is a slightly bigger task. Levels are designed to frustrate and test the skills of gamers. This means tough jumps, pits galore, genius enemy placement and mean boss fights. Ninja Senki will have you learning patterns then using them against your enemy to succeed. Platformers can be simple to learn, but hard to master, yet still holding a certain charm I am still unable to understand. Maybe it’s the nostalgia of playing a good retro game, whatever it is Ninja Senki holds that trait. This is a feeling that I haven’t experienced since Mega Man 9.
Nostalgia doesn’t end with the 8-bit paint job either. One thing that I really enjoyed was the enemies. Particularly the many ninjas with just a color swap. Each color ninja has a different attack pattern, red ninjas run back and forth; green ninjas jump and throw shurikens, etc. This element alone is indicative of what the NES experience was in the eighties. Ninja Senki isn’t without a beautifully done chip tune soundtrack either, in fact, Patrice Bourgeault composed many catchy themes for each level. Jean Chan also lends to the 8-bit authenticity by incorporating some killer sound effects. Overall, this game lives and breathes 8-bit platformer.
|Yes, you can even skip water.|
Ninja Senki is played in scenes, with a boss fight occurring at the end of every second scene. Each scene shows off beautifully detailed tile sets used to create the levels. After defeating the bosses, I always found myself looking forward to seeing how the next level looked. I wasn’t disappointed. On top of beautifully designed environments, each level also introduced a completely new mechanic or obstacle. Some obstacles included new enemies for which you needed to adapt to a new pattern, or a mechanic such as falling spikes or elevator platforms. These additions kept the game feeling fresh and forced you to adapt to your surroundings, just like a ninja. Boss fights varied in difficulty as some fights were easy, while others were more difficult, I’m looking at you scene four and final boss.
Ninja Senki offers a unique point system as well. Achieving certain point values will reward you with health or even a 1UP. To my knowledge gathering points is the only way to heal or gain extra lives. Gaining points is done by defeating enemies and collecting coins. It becomes a challenge to seek out all the coins in a given scene. I've also found out through the wonderful world of the internet that you need to achieve a certain point total to see the true ending. This definitely provides more motivation to seek out every possible point. Here's a helpful tip, try to speed through the levels as you will earn additional points for the time left on the timer. No extra time means no extra points.
Regardless of its challenging nature, I was able to push through to the final scene and enjoy everything the game had to offer. If there were ever a free video game you need to play, than this is that game. Visit the official Ninja Senki web page to download this game. Also don't forget to check out the developers official web page.
|Can you find these secret coins?|