The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is a throwback to the beat ‘em up days where battling groups of bad guys was commonplace in the arcades. Originally released by TAITO, The Ninja Saviors is a retro remake of the 1987 arcade release of the same name, the second one to date. While retaining the audio of the original game, this remake includes new modes, new playable characters, and a new engine. But does this ninja classic have enough action to be fun and relevant in today’s gaming space? Yes, and no, but only because so much has changed for the brawler genre since the late 1980s.
The presentation of The Ninja Saviors is very good for a remake of an older game. The soundtrack is the same from previous releases, but the visuals are more polished. Any fan of pixel art backgrounds and character designs will appreciate the retro look that feels refreshed in here. The stages you move through have some details in them that make everything look deep, but the majority of the action will happen in the foreground with you and the enemies coming at you. The bosses you face have some interesting designs, but not all of them are better to look at than the lesser enemies. A lot of them fall into the typical bad guy design from the era, though a few look a bit wilder than everyone else.
The Ninja Saviors is almost identical to the arcade release from back in the day in terms of gameplay, consisting of eight levels you can fight your way through. The three ninjas from the original game are here, but they’re accompanied by new allies, Raiden and Yaksha. All of the ninjas control the same, punching and kicking as you move towards the right side of the screen, but each have their own unique abilities. Some can fire small missiles or even cause a surrounding explosion to clear the screen.
Each one also has their own attributes in combat, with some feeling heavy and slow while others are small and nimble. However, everyone has a slow movement speed in the same vein as early brawlers of the time, so don’t expect to run around reacting to enemies.
You can unlock the two additional ninjas by finishing the game on Normal and Hard difficulties, but by the time you obtain them you’ll have already seen enough of what The Ninja Saviors has to offer. The game can be short, even when playing through solo and possibly shorter if you have a friend to play co-op with you. There is a Time-Attack mode and online leaderboards that will let you keep track of your progress and offer a mild amount of replayability. Beyond that however, there’s not much to get engrossed with beyond the main game in The Ninja Saviors.
Replaying the same stages again can get a little boring if there’s only so much to see and do. Additionally, there is no online multiplayer, so you won’t be able to play throug hthe game with a friend if you don’t have someone else nearby. Given the option, you would probably spend more time playing through The Ninja Saviors again with other people online.
Retro gaming fans will appreciate the care that went into rereleasing The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors, but everyone else won’t get much here. The visuals and soundtrack are great, but the length of the game will only keep you busy for a short while. Some aspects of the game may be too archaic for newer gamers, especially with other retro game rereleases that have come out before. Additional modes and co-op play are good things to have in this kind of game, but other extras related to the development or artwork of the arcade release of The Ninja Saviors would’ve been so much better to have. This is a good rerelease of a classic arcade game, but it’s also one that could’ve gone even further with celebrating its legacy.
This review is based on a digital review code for The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors for the Nintendo Switch, provided by ININ Games.