Ninjin: Clash of Carrots (PlayStation 4) Review

By Justin Prinsloo 15.09.2018

Review for Ninjin: Clash of Carrots on PlayStation 4

No matter where your history playing videogames began, there's an undeniable charm about the retro 8-bit style that modern gaming cannot overshadow. The success of titles like Lisa, Celeste and The Binding of Isaac show that gamers still crave these experiences in spite of the AAA titles on offer, because there's something in the simplicity of their presentation that forms the bedrock of what gaming truly is. Developer Pocket Trap has attempted with Ninjin: Clash of Carrots to hone in on this feeling of nostalgia, with mixed success.

Ninjin is a 2D auto-scrolling hack-and-slash game. There's a lot going for it, from its aesthetic appeal to its silly but entertaining story. The plot is wacky but cute - a ninja rabbit and his fox companion (both playable in single-player and local or online co-op) travel across feudal Japan to retrieve their precious carrots, stolen by arch-villain Shogun Moe.

The levels are mostly well designed, with increasingly saturated waves of enemies ramping up the intensity as the player progresses. In later stages, the screen becomes a frenzy of activity as enemies execute conveniently colour-coded attacks. It's quite a spectacle, and it feels rewarding to deftly weave your way through these aggressive foes. Despite some ambiguous hit-boxes, combat feels mostly fair, and the variety of enemy types keeps the experience fresh. There are some imaginatively bizarre enemies on display here: spear-wielding boars, invisible chameleons, and robots with alarm bells for heads, to name a few.

Screenshot for Ninjin: Clash of Carrots on PlayStation 4

It may sound like there's little in the way of replay value, but a fun survival mode that awards gear that can be used in the story adds incentive to return. Playing with a friend can be fun, as well. These days it seems that couch co-op is sadly dying out, but Ninjin defiantly offers an experience that will satisfy gamers who have fond memories of unhealthily long spans in front of the TV with a friend.

The story is entertaining and has some funny dialogue, but contradictory to the easy flow of the combat, the humour can at times feel forced. Cut-scenes can be pervasive, as well, often popping up just when it feels like the action is at its peak. The control scheme is blatantly oversimplified, with only four of the DualShock 4's buttons being made use of. Apart from basic movement, there's a melee attack, a dash, and a ranged attack, and only one true combo (a dash attack). Yes, the game is striving for straightforwardness, but this can lead to a sense of repetition after a few hours, despite the impressive arsenal of over 150 weapons and gear items.

What makes Ninjin most enjoyable is its focus on the modest fun of yesteryear's standout titles. It doesn't try to be something it's not, and the passion for retro fun that Pocket Trap seems to have really shows through this title. It's not the best game of its kind, but it's guaranteed to provide hours of fun with its extensive gear and co-op mode - but once its initial charm has faded, it ultimately amounts to little more than a "good enough" quick-fix.

Screenshot for Ninjin: Clash of Carrots on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Stylish presentation and quirky fun are Ninjin: Clash of Carrots's standout selling points. Retro graphics and an eccentric storyline are the heart and soul of the experience, even if the script is at times frustratingly over-the-top. Ultimately, Ninjin holds up as a mostly fun experience, but its co-op modes, amusing story, and enemy variety fail to overpower an over-simplicity that lets it down.

Developer

Pocket Trap

Publisher

Modus Games

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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