Players will quickly find themselves darting back and forth across the screen in an attempt to avoid the titles vast array of Shogun Army grunts who have dared to cross the protagonists people. Ninjin: Clash of Carrots allows players to freely move around the levels path which is a fresh idea for its genre, most side scrolling platformers lock players to one of many lanes to switch between. This allows Ninjin to dispatch enemies in a flashier and less restrictive fashion.
Whilst Ninjin can use a standard melee attack, he can also throw shurikens, dodge and attack dodge. The attack dodge is a clever mechanic used to overcome the frontal attacks that side scrolling platformers enforce. Players simply press the attack and dodge buttons in tandem to attack from the rear. This reviewer found early on that dodging behind enemies dampens enemy attacks and allows for a more efficient dispatch, it also saves a few points on the old HP meter!
Give Us a Wave!
As previously mentioned; the enemy variety with Ninjin: Clash of Carrots is surprisingly varied. Each brainless faction of the Shogun army provides a balanced spread of attacks such as ranged bomb throwers to charging suicidal maniacs. This games reviewer found a handful of waves that demanded one studied their attack patterns and their weaknesses to move onto the next wave and in turn, the next level. However, the better players perform (I.E. take minimal damage and perform high combos) the more life and stamina is restored between waves.
The world map is akin to Super Mario Worlds, new paths open once the current level is complete. This map system is also the home of Ninjin: Clash of Carrots inventory and merchant mechanics. Players can opt to use carrots to buy melee weapons, shurikens, Health / Stamina upgrades and more. Whilst some items can be found within the games unforgiving enemy waves, this reviewer found it good form to upgrade gear often. A balancing mechanic has been employed with melee weapons where weight effects the protagonists hit rate, a sound way to nerf over powered weapons with high critical hit ratios.
It’s Dangerous to go Alone… Wrong Game?
Players can also start each level via online play which sees Ninjin accompanied by a Ninja Corgi to help reclaim stolen carrots. This can also be achieved via local 2 player co-op support. From what this reviewer has played of the multiplayer elements, Ninjin: Clash of Carrots provides a seamless 2 player experience. By utilising the jump in style of co-op, this title provides a brilliant pick up and play experience whilst curbing difficulty levels for casual enthusiasts.
Ninjin: Clash of Carrots is lovingly presented with the yesteryear of platformers in mind whilst catering to a high definition biased crowd. All elements of the game are rendered in a pixel art format which is clear cut and prepared for delivering smooth frame rates that Ninjin: Clash of Carrots demands with multiple enemies on-screen.
That Soundtrack Though…
This reviewer loves it when Indie developers use pixel textures to personify a games character. There is a persistent stigma that Indie devs use pixel art in order to cut corners and reduce time spent on aesthetics. In this case, this reviewer feels that Ninjin: Clash of Carrots would lose its integrity and soul if another design choice prevailed.
The sound engineering also harkens back to a golden age of gaming with an authentic bit-chip soundtrack which has embedded itself deep into this reviewers’ grey matter. One is actively searching for Ninjin: Clash of Clans OST, it’s so catchy! The Sound effects are also in the same vein which adds to the arcade-like immersion.
Graphics and Presentation: 4
Overall Score: 4.2/5.0
Ninjin: Clash of Carrots is one of the best Indie surprises of the year. With polished gameplay mechanics, an eye catching aesthetic and a soundtrack that will forever haunt your dreams (in a good way!), this reviewer can categorically recommend this title to all of my readers.
Formats: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam
Price: £11.99 (eShop)
Publisher: Modus Games
Developer: Pocket Trap
Release Date: 04/09/2018
Age Rating: PEGI 7+
Review copy provided by publisher