There’s a carrot at the end of the stick.
If there’s something that indie games constantly do, it’s bringing back old-school genres with an entirely new coat of paint. From the art-style to the game design itself, it’s on the smaller games that you find the most unique experiences. Some of them, in fact, are the result of the mixture of unusual ideas. With a blend of auto-runner and beat ‘em up action, that’s exactly what Ninjin: Clash of Carrots is.
The colorful presentation helps to create a goofy story with funny dialogue.
With an outstanding, colourful, and stylish presentation (that looks like something inspired in cartoons like Adventure Time), Ninjin: Clash of Carrots tells the adventures of a bunny ninja named Ninjin and its partner, the fox Akai. Set in a fantasy world inspired by the feudal Japan – and inhabited by anthropomorphised animals – our protagonist starts a battle against the army of the shogun after his village is raided. After all, they took all their carrots, which is obviously unacceptable.
The narrative that follows up doesn’t take itself too seriously, as it isn’t much more than an elaborated excuse for you to defeat dozens of enemies at each level. Enemies have comical designs, and most dialogue are composed of little jokes and exaggerated expressions. It gets clearly fast that the main appeal of Ninjin lies on its combat and mechanics – and in all the unique equipment that you can gather along the way.
A beat ‘em up with twists: defeat all the enemies while on the run.
At its basis, Ninjin combat has pretty much every element that you can expect from a classic beat ‘em up. Your character has different types of attacks and can stagger most enemies with a sequence of blows. Enemies will appear in waves, from both sides of the screen. Pretty standard. What Ninjin does differently to make its gameplay quite unique, though, is that every single level is played like it’s an on-going auto-runner. It’s a strange concept at first, but both you character and the enemies are constantly running from left to right.
Due to that, the entire gameplay of Ninjin follows some unique rules. Firstly, your character is constantly facing the right side. Consequently, your main attack with Y only hits enemies in front of you. In order to deal with enemies from the other direction, you have to perform a dash attack, using both Y and B. On top of that, you can also throw a projectile using the right analogue stick. This sums up a pretty unique combat scheme, in which you must position yourself properly at all times.
Exchange your carrots for more powerful weaponry and accessories.
Defeated enemies drops carrots – the game’s main currency – that can be used to buy new weapons and upgrades for your character. Ninjin isn’t a very long game, as you can finish its 5 worlds in about 4 hours. However, it has a very high replay value thanks to its huge amount of customization. Both melee weapons and projectiles have different properties and damage outputs. With hundreds of different options to test, the game encourages you to play more to unlock and buy new and more powerful gear.
While short, the entirety of the campaign of Ninjin: Clash of Carrots can be enjoyed with a friend, both on cough co-op and online. Its multiplayer mode can become too chaotic at times, but it is an equally entertaining experience. A good bet for those in search for a short, uncompromising fun.
Ninjin: Clash of Carrots takes the most standard aspects from the beat ’em up genre and adds its own twists by putting your characters on a non-stop run. Despite its short length, it’s an entertaining adventure with lots of replayability for those who are completionists.