Yasai Ninja (PlayStation 4) Review

By Josh Di Falco 29.02.2016

Review for Yasai Ninja on PlayStation 4

Yasai Ninja is a third-person hack 'n' slash adventure centred around two characters: an onion and a broccoli. Betrayed by a Sensei, the onion ninja, named Kaoru Tamanegu and Broccoli Joe, embark on a quest for revenge. RECOtechnology has created a brave story set in Feudal Japan, where a disgraced samurai onion is on a quest to regain his lost honour. It tries to fill that nostalgia void of hack 'n' slashers of old, with ten stages for the two heroes to journey through, and it picks up the pacing by meshing the third-person experience with slight dips into the old-school 2D platformers.

Yasai Ninja is, unfortunately, a cluster of poorly executed ideas that together, served up a disappointing excuse for minestrone. With a generic ninja revenge story to boot, it is hard to play this vegetable tale without the experience inadvertently ending due to a silly glitch or a character dying due to some poor colour schemes for the stage design.

It all plays like any traditional hack 'n' slash game. Both Kaoru and Broccoli Joe can perform a normal or a heavy attack, as well as having a block or dodge button. The fighting system is as simple as that, with the ability to defeat enemies relying solely on mashing the attack buttons. While the strategies to defeating some enemies were supposed to incorporate the blocking ability, the response time from the moment the button is pressed to when the character actually performed it was so slow, that it rendered this entire ability useless - this can actually be completed without ever using a block or dodge.

Screenshot for Yasai Ninja on PlayStation 4

As Kaoru and Broccoli Joe vanquish the evil cucumbers they level-up, and, thus, unlock new attack combos available for use against tougher foes. The only issue with that was that the tougher foes fell just as easily as the earlier enemies did, and, as a result, the combos were rarely ever needed. Of course, any traditional hack 'n' slash had to incorporate the use of boss fights, and Yasai Ninja is no different. The only issue with these bosses were that they went down with repeated mashing of the attack buttons, with next to no strategy needed in order to change things up.

While there's a co-op feature available, where two players can control a hero each, the single player does allow the ability to switch between the two characters at will with the press of a button. When not in use, the other character is controlled by the AI and just aimlessly follows the human-controlled fighter, and can often cause plenty of problems in the heat of battle, or when it comes to solving puzzles. While both Kaoru and Joe don't feel any different in terms of fighting style, they both have different abilities in regards to puzzle solving. Kaoru can push and pull objects into place, while Joe can pull equipment apart with the use of sine Quick-Time Events.

Screenshot for Yasai Ninja on PlayStation 4

Don't be mistaken, though; this is not a puzzle game, and the few "puzzles" it contains are hardly troublesome at all. The only challenge with them is trying to get the AI controlled partner to obey commands. One, in particular, required using both Kaoru and Joe together in order to get them across the water, and yet, every time the AI character is left alone, he would end up wandering off to some other part of the map. Working together is paramount to completing the game, and if either character gets killed, the level will restart, either from the beginning, or from the last checkpoint.

At certain points in the game, the action will switch from a third-person slasher to a 2D side-scrolling platformer. While these stages help breaking up the pace of the adventure, the main drawback was that Kaoru and Joe feel like they are carrying weights the whole time, and, therefore, jumping from platform to platform becomes a chore due them feeling heavy, making the easiest of jumps look as if they had only barely made it there. On top of that, the screen would sometimes turn on an angle, which resulted in some frustrating moments where even jumping onto the next platform was tough due to not being able to get the angle right.

Screenshot for Yasai Ninja on PlayStation 4

Even in third-person perspective, the camera was a battle in itself. At times, it would refuse to turn in order to be behind the character in control. The inability to rotate the camera manually meant that being able to see across the terrain in order to gauge the distance between jumps was near impossible. During fights, the camera would also rotate ferociously in order to always be behind the character, resulting in many nauseating moments.

The art style was one of the few positives, with both stages and cinematics looking like something straight of out a comic book. The level designs really helped setting the tone of the Feudal age, while the enemy and character costumes looked terrific. The colours used for telling a story in the stages are quite good, but would occasionally mesh in ways that probably were not intended. This resulted in many frustrating moments of trying to find the next platform to jump on, and trying to distinguish it from a background that was the exact same colour.

While the cut-scenes were broken up into many different comic book panels, the dialogue really let the game down in terms of conveying a story, as well as making the main characters likeable. The music was nice to listen to, and was probably the only other thing that was a positive about this title, although after the fourth level, the music would still be the same, staying forever in a loop until the game had ended. Having a multitude of tracks to listen to would have made this frustrating experience a little bit easier to play.

Screenshot for Yasai Ninja on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

2/10
Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

Yasai Ninja is an undercooked mess of a dish, with ideas that weren't implemented well. The entire game seemed to be against the player, from the colour palette and fighting style, right down to the annoying camera and silly AI partner. Nothing seemed to work as it should, and even the characters played as if they were being held down by weights, resulting in their sluggishness. The response time between the button press, and the resulting action was atrocious, and the story was so generic that there was no motivation to continue playing just to see how it would pan out. This title had gotten one thing right, however: the onion will make the tears pour, but for all the wrong reasons.

Developer

Recotechnology

Publisher

Recotechnology

Genre

Adventure

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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