There is a key difference between a game that is hard and one that is frustrating and most developers attempt to ride that line as best as possible. Games like Dark Souls, Nioh, and Super Meat Boy are punishingly difficult but feels rewarding, while others make you question if it’s even worth trying to reach the goal?At first glance it looks like Save the Ninja Clan would walk this line well. A simple design and premise, as well as some decent controls allow the game to be playable, but after several deaths over extremely simple jumps and enemies, the frustration rears its head.
Save the Ninja Clan’s story is exactly that, you play as a group of Ninja’s tasked with rescuing the members of your clan by passing agility and skill tests that boil down to “run this obstacle course until you find your ninja scroll at the end of the level” in a Super Meat Boy style. The game throws a variety of obstacles at you including floors that give away, saws, spikes and most annoying of all, enemies who can kill you with projectile weapons.
Luckily those said enemies are easy to defeat, a well time throwing knife will stop most attacks and defeat the targets in one, possibly two hits. The problem is that they seem to be randomly generated, forcing players to adapt to heavily armoured opponents, grenade launchers and more. I can’t count how many times a run I should have aced after a couple of attempts was thwarted because the one enemy was replaced with a heavy armoured grenade slinger.
The game also throws another switch at you with different Ninjas with different powers, such as double jump and running. This does provide some challenge on the missions but it almost seems like a unnessary feature as they don’t tend to add any difficulty to the level, but rather cause more annoyances by restricting your controls further.While some easily avoided annoyances aside, Save the Ninja Clan’s levels are generally fun and imaginative with different types of traps and helpful obstacle to help complete the run. Another fun feature comes from the hidden bonuses in which the developer appears via error chat windows and throws a near impossible challenge at you for failing to play the game right. It’s a little cheesy but it sometimes hit a comedic note, while providing a bit more of a challenge overall.
There was very little to be impressed with in the sound and graphics department which both were just okay. The graphics felt more in place with a basic flash title that you would have seen on net (thinking about it now, the entire game almost gives that vibe) while sound was hardly noticable or at times even present. I had to make sure that my TV was turnt all the way up and options were maxed, even then I could barely hear any sound coming out.