Platformer genre has its history stretched from retro to recently next-gen consoles and handhelds. Drawing from its long history, the concern to take unique theme, originality, and innovation as the heart of platformer stands still. Ninja Battle Heroes (by Tom Create) is one of the platformers recently published for the Nintendo 3DS eShop. I’m curious to see how sharp this katana unsheathed from Tom Create’s workshop.
As you can see from the title, Ninja Battle Heroes brings ninja, Japanese theme, combined by animal theme to the game. Beast Brigade is the group you are under command, led by a chick named Yukimura Sanada. You are Saizo Kirigakure, the raid leader of the group. Coming back from a mission to find the entire base missing, you begin your search to find everyone. At the beginning I loved the premise, but upon finding that the bosses you fought are none other that your hypnotized friends (Reploid goes Maverick-esque one), this plot turned less interesting.
Fortunately, at least the plot is saved by the urge to find the mastermind – so there is still a reason to finish the game – and fine characterization of Beast Brigade members. Each ninja has his/her unique personality, reflected from the dialogue. We get from clumsy-to-badass-to-tsundere, all packed in one game. It’s just they are too many, so they are not given enough portion on stage.
Each stage in Ninja Battle Heroes is set to several accomplishments, aside from finishing the stage to move forward. The accomplishment is acquired depending on your performance, such as damage taken, enemies defeated, time consumed in one stage, etc. The core mechanism is Spirit collected by defeating enemies. Spirit system allows you to use special attacks/buffs gained from
your friends bosses, add more special attacks, upgrade those, or even revive you when you die in battle. Spirit is manually collected upon defeating enemies by pressing Down; fairly difficult especially if you are in the center of hordes.
Being a 2D character in a 3D background is not my preference, but in Ninja Battle Heroes it still looks fine. The real problem is that the stage design is not well-made, not exciting enough to explore. There is no specific theme for each stage, worsened by single soundtrack accompanying all stages. Leaving the specific theme untouched, it also affects the enemy types. Thus you will find the same enemies anywhere, turning the tides of battle flat and uninteresting. Varied combo attacks Saizo Kirigakure can use with katana and stars – though pretty cool – could not help the flaw made.
Although the game design in Ninja Battle Heroes is not well-made, at least the characterizations could be appreciated. You may purchase the recently developed game from Tom Create for $2.99 in the Nintendo 3DS eShop. En garde!