The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors review for Nintendo Switch, PS4

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PS4
Publisher: ININ Games
Developer: Natsume/Atari
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: Leaderboards

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors released this week for Nintendo Switch and PS4, and re-introduces beat ?em up fans to a SNES gem often overlooked amongst the Final Fight?s and Captain Commando?s of the 16-bit era. The Ninja Saviors is a remake/sequel of The Ninja Warriors, originally released in 1994 by Natsume on the SNES with the very first version of the game coming out in arcades back in 1987. While generally well regarded by fans, it?s not a game that you tend to hear much about, so when this game was unveiled, I was pretty surprised. Thankfully, it?s a really solid entry in the beat ?em up genre, adding in new characters, a time attack mode, and even more vibrant, 2D visuals to enjoy.

If you?re a bit more familiar with Capcom or Konami?s output in the genre, you?ll notice one thing different about The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors right off the bat. There?s only one field of movement, so no up or down movement, instead you?ll simply move right or left across the 8 different stages contained here. While that might sound a little too restrictive at first, the various movesets and movement speeds of the five different selectable characters go a long way towards alleviating any concerns you might have. Each character feels wholly unique, with different types of specials, strengths, and weaknesses to set them apart.

On its default difficulty, The Ninja Saviors provides a suitable enough challenge for your initial playthrough, forcing you to learn about stage hazards, how to effectively block attacks, and what the various enemies you encounter are capable of. It?s not super tough though, and not necessarily meant to be a long game. You only have one life, but unlimited continues with occasional checkpoints throughout a stage. However, once you finish the game, you?ll unlock a harder difficult which ramps things up quite a bit. Also, there are optional time attack versions of each stage that get unlocked as you advance, with online leaderboards to participate in. 

One of the most appealing aspects of The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors has to be the visuals, both the animations and the unique cyborg designs. The game world feels like it?s been ripped straight out of 80?s action cinema, with robot ninjas, bad guys in business suits, run-down city streets, and so on. The character animations look fantastic, with big detailed sprites, huge bosses, and lots of destructible objects to toss around. It?s a really great looking 2D game and stands out in a genre that?s already crowded with great visual examples. 

If you?ve never played the original games, or you?re just a fan of beat ?em ups in general, I?d absolutely suggest picking up The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors on the platform of your choice. I played through on the Nintendo Switch, which has been an excellent platform for the game, but I?d imagine you?d be fine from a performance perspective on PS4 too. It?s a real gem of a game that?s long been overlooked and is certainly worth your time. 

Note: ININ Games provided us with a The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A