Kunai review for Nintendo Switch, PC


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: The Arcade Crew
Developer: TurtleBlaze
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like there’s not a lot of variety when it comes to Metroidvania-style platformers. This may just come down to all the middling Metroidvanias I’ve played over the years, but it’s always kind of felt like if you’ve played one of these games, you’ve played…well, not quite all of them, but enough that you always know what you’re going to get.

Kunai tries to be different. It tries to overcome the feeling of sameness by sheer force of personality alone. And you know what? It doesn’t not succeed at that goal.

That probably comes off as more of a backhanded compliment than it’s meant to be. Because, in all honesty, Kunai is undeniably charming. The game calls itself a “ninja metroidvania”, which actually leaves out the most interesting part: Kunai is a robot ninja metroidvania. The main character is a tablet named Tabby who conveys its emotions constantly through all kinds of adorable facial expressions. As Tabby jumps and runs and swings through this post-apocalyptic world, taking on robots many times his size, you can’t help but root for him.

Plus, all that jumping and running and swinging is pulled off very well. Early on, the game equips Tabby with a pair of grappling hooks, and it uses those hooks to perfect effect. It makes attacking enemies from above a breeze, and you can build up a pretty good rhythm as you swing up and up and up.

The problem is, no matter how charming Kunai is, it’s still a Metroidvania at heart. You’re still going back and forth all the time, slowly expanding your map as you gain more powers. It adds up to a couple of hours of fun, followed by a couple more hours of feeling like you’re doing a lot of the same actions over and over again.

Still, that’s at least half a good game in there, which isn’t too bad, all things considered. Kunai isn’t going to make me rethink my attitude towards the entire genre, but if you’re looking for a Metroidvania that at least does all kinds of things right, you’re certainly looking in the right direction here.

The Arcade Crew provided us with a Kunai Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B