When I was a kid one of my favorite games was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Turtles in Time. Being a huge fan of TMNT when I was a kid I was bound to like it. On top of that though I was a big fan of side-scrolling beat em’ up games. I really liked this genre because I enjoyed playing these type of games with my brother. We played the game so much I don’t even remember how many times we ended up beating it. I bring this up because as soon as I saw the game that I am taking a look at in this review it immediately reminded me of the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games. Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is a remaster of the 1994 Super Nintendo game The Ninja Warriors. Back in the day I had never played or heard of The Ninja Warriors but I was interested in checking out the remaster especially since it gave me the opportunity to revisit a genre I really enjoyed with my brother. Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors does a good remastering The Ninja Warriors by putting on a new coat of paint and adding in a few new features to a cult classic, but it fails to fix all of the issues from the original game.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank ININ Games and NatsumeAtari for the review copy of Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.
In Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors you play as one of five androids. The evil Banglar the Tyrant has taken over the world using his brainwashed minions. Ruling with cruelty and destroying anyone who would stand up to him, Banglar rules uncontested for many years. A resistance eventually forms though lead by Mulk. As Mulk and his followers can’t defeat Baglar’s forces on their own, they develop a group of androids in order to help in the fight against Banglar. Can you defeat Banglar’s forces in time before the resistance is destroyed and Banglar rules forever?
Those of you that are familiar with 1980s and 1990s side-scrolling beat em’ ups should already have a pretty good idea of what it is like playing Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors. At its core it is your traditional beat em’ up game. Basically you move your character from left to right to reach the end of the level. Standing in your way are hordes of enemies which you must defeat in order to proceed. The game utilizes the analog stick to control movement which is locked to a 2D plane as you can only move left or right. The game also features a jump button and an attack button. The combination of these three different controls leads to a variety of different attacks. The game has five different playable characters (two are unlockable) which have different playstyles ranging from a lot of quick less powerful attacks to slower more powerful attacks. When you reach the end of a level you face off against a boss that you must defeat in order to move onto the next level.
I began this review talking about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Turtles in Time. I didn’t do this just because it was one of my favorite games growing up. I did it because while playing Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors it reminded me a lot of that game as well as most other games from the beat em’ up genre from that era. The game didn’t revolutionize the genre when it was originally released as it doesn’t really feature any highly unique mechanics not found in other games from that era. The only unique thing it offered was different playable characters who actually play quite a bit different from one another. It is still your traditional beat em’ up game though where you mash buttons to perform different combos in order to defeat all of the enemies in your way.
While it might not be highly original Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is still a fun game. The thing that I have always liked about this genre is that it is the type of game that you can just sit back and beat up enemies without putting too much thought into what you are doing. Using the different combos together will lead to more success, but you can also just mash buttons to your heart’s content. This is possible because the controls are quite good as the game is responsive to the buttons you press. There is just something really satisfying about destroying hordes of enemies on your way to the boss at the end of the level. The end of level bosses are also quite good as they are varied and provide enough challenge. If you have never liked beat em’ ups the game probably won’t be for you. Fans of the genre should have quite a bit of fun with Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors though.
As I stated at the beginning of this review when I was a kid I really enjoyed playing these type of games with my brother. While the original version of The Ninja Warriors did not include a co-op mode, the remaster does. I was naturally going to play the game co-op as these type of games are always more enjoyable with a friend along for the journey. Despite being a new feature exclusive to the remaster, I thought the game did a really good job with the co-op mode. In the co-op mode two players play at the same time and try to work together in order to defeat all of the enemies. The game doesn’t feature friendly fire so both players can mash buttons without hurting their teammate. While the co-op mode mostly plays like every other co-op beat em’ up, one unique element to the co-op mode is that both players share the same health meter. Each hit both of you take will take health off the combined health meter and when it runs out you both die. I really enjoyed my time with the co-op mode as it brought back a lot of fond memories of playing these type of games with my brother when we were kids. For this reason I would highly recommend checking out the co-op mode if you have someone else to play the game with.
Other than the addition of the co-op mode Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is pretty similar to your typical remaster of a game from the 1990s. The most notable difference is that the game has gotten a visual overhaul. The graphics have been upgraded, including making the game widescreen, while still maintaining that Super Nintendo style. I thought the visual upgrades were quite good and were probably as much as you could do while still maintaining the original style. In addition to the graphical updates the game includes a couple more modes as well as two new characters that you unlock when you beat some of the different modes. For the most part I think Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors did a good job remastering the original game.
As far as the difficulty I would say that Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors can be a little hit or miss. I did only play the co-op mode so I don’t know how it compares with the single player modes. I say the difficulty is kind of hit or miss because one level/boss could be quite difficult while the next could be really easy. Even individual levels are not always consistent with the difficulty. A few areas in a level could be really difficult and then the rest of the level could be a breeze. At least for the normal difficulties the game gives you occasional checkpoints and unlimited lives where you can return to your last checkpoint after each death. For the most part I would say that the game is moderately difficult as some parts were quite easy while other parts were kind of difficult. In particular the final boss was quite difficult even though we apparently ended up accidentally choosing the more difficult option for the final level.
For the most part I think Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors does a good job remastering The Ninja Warriors. One thing it fails to add though is a pretty obvious quality of life upgrade. Those of you familiar with beat em’ up games from the early to mid 1990s will not be surprised to hear that the game has no save feature. While the game keeps track of your fastest times and everything that you have unlocked, it does not save your progress through the campaign. If you want to complete the game be prepared to play through the entire game in one session. The game doesn’t have a feature where you can save your progress through the campaign and then come back at a future time to complete it. You will unlock the time trial modes for all of the levels you beat, but if you want to continue the campaign to unlock the other levels you will have to begin again from the start or keep playing until you beat the entire game.
In some ways I can see why they made this decision as I am assuming the original game didn’t include saves as most games from that era didn’t. As the developers wanted to make a faithful remaster I can see why they chose not to include a save feature even though it wouldn’t have took too much time to add it into the game. Purists of the genre would want to play it this way anyways. I think the game should have given players the option to save their progress though. I would have preferred splitting the experience into two sessions but that was not an option. Instead of being able to play the game at my own leisure I had to grind through the entire game or I would have lost all of the progress that I had made. While Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is pretty short I would have still preferred the opportunity to save my progress so I could come back at another time. You basically have to set aside a couple hours if you don’t want to risk losing all of your progress. For the players who wanted the challenge of beating the entire game in one sitting they could have just ignored the save feature.
The saving grace of having no save feature is that Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is not very long in the first place. The length of the game is going to depend quite a bit on your skill level. The game features eight different stages of varying lengths. The stages themselves are not that long as a flawless run of a stage will take you a couple minutes at max. Unless you are an expert at these type of games though you will die quite a bit which will add time to the game’s overall length. I would say that most people could probably beat all of the levels in the game within 2-4 hours.
The main campaign is not very long in Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors, but the game does include a few other features. The game includes both a single player normal and hard mode which is unlocked after you beat the normal mode. The game also features the co-op mode that I mentioned earlier. Whenever you beat a mission in one of the modes you also unlock the time trial for that mission/mode combination where you can try to beat the level as quickly as possible. As you defeat the different modes you can unlock two additional characters with their own unique fighting styles. I give the game some credit for adding some replay value to the game with these different modes. People who like replaying games in order to try and do better can get a decent amount of additional content out of the game. Those who only like to play through a game once though will probably only get 2-4 hours out of the game.
Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is basically what you want out of a remaster of a 1990s beat em’ up. The gameplay is what you would expect from the genre where you pretty much just beat up everything in sight. The gameplay is oddly satisfying like most games from the genre. Outside of featuring five characters with different fight styles the game plays like most games from the beat em’ up genre. The game is still fun though as the controls are quite responsive. Most of the additions to this remaster come in the form of upgraded graphics, a few new characters, and a few new features. The biggest new feature is the co-op mode that is quite fun and I would highly recommend checking it out. While the game is quite fun, Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors does have a couple issues. First the game did not add a save feature so you have to complete the whole campaign in one session if you don’t want to lose your progress. The game is also quite short as it only takes two to four hours to complete all of the levels. The game features a few different modes but there is not a lot of replay value if you don’t like replaying the same levels in order to improve your time.
If you have never been a big fan of beat em’ up games Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors probably won’t be for you. Fans of the genre should get quite a bit of enjoyment out of the game though. Whether you pick it up right away or wait for a sale, I would recommend you look into picking up Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors.