Ninjin: Clash of Carrots plays like a mash-up of Bit.Trip’s popular Runner series combined with Double Dragon. A stylized romp that seems to be one part endless runner, one part beat em’ up with a dash of comic appeal. Ninjin boasts a minimalistic art style and a fitting retro inspired soundtrack but it is in its gameplay where the game excels most. After all, who doesn’t want to destroy foes with a carrot?
You play as Ninjin the rabbit and Akai the fox on a quest to get back all of their stolen carrots from Mole Shogun. The gameplay is presented in waves, 9 per stage to be exact before squaring off with an end-level boss. There are a few break points in the action when new enemies are revealed through a dramatic cutscenes (think Guacamelee 2, when acquiring a new power.) I found this slightly distracting, breaking me from the flow of the combat system. Speaking of the combat system, the game is comprised of a basic attack, a dash, a dash attack and a ranged attack. Nothing to revel about but it is the speed and chaos on screen that kept me drawn to the game. You will have opportunities to explore new weapons types and trust me, you will need them. While the game may come off as a game for children, it is tough as nails. Some of the levels are downright brutal and took multiple play throughs to get through. It wasn’t as rage inducing as something like Dark Souls or Nioh but damnit….how dare you be cute and so difficult all at the same time. In parts of the game, it plays like a shoot-em-up. Some enemies shoot projectiles while others explode upon death. There are so many objects on screen at once to dodge and dash past to destroy your enemy but its doable.
In between levels, you will be navigate a world map, similar to what you would see in Super Mario World and as mentioned before it is here that you will spend the carrots you have collected from fallen enemies to upgrade your weapons and interestingly enough in a game of this kind, the weapons actually feel different. They did a great job of differing the attack patterns of the weapons enough to have them play a role in your strategy.
There is a fair bit of dialogue to navigate through that varies from mildly funny to painful. While it was fairly entertaining, it would have been nice as I repeatedly perished throughout the game, if the game could detect that I had already read through the dialogue. It was skippable but I still had to watch as the dialogue quickly ran its course.
I certainly enjoyed my time Ninjin and Akai. Overall, Ninjin: Clash of Carrots has solid gameplay for a game of this ilk. The combat has enough depth and the game enough difficulty to force you to strategize and think out your moves for the next wave while preserving enough health to get through the waves final boss. If you are looking for a quick game to jump into and play in spurts, it certainly fits the bill.