Ninja Shodown (Review) Nintendo Switch

Ninja Shodown (Review) Nintendo Switch
Review Score:

Ninja Shodown by RisingStarGames is an arcade-like, twitch-style 2D hack ‘n slasher that sees the player in the role of a katana-wielding, projectile throwing ninja, who is on a quest to obtain an ancient sword known as the Jade Katana. Like most games in the twitch-style genre, Ninja Shodown maintains a fever-pitch speed throughout its five levels, as a number of enemies teleport from various doors and then commandeer the available platforms in each level.

The gameplay is punishing, but very satisfying. As the player hacks and slashes their way through each level, they must collect power ups (which randomly appear in different colored crates), cling to the walls to avoid enemies, and learn which weapons are more effective against each thug (more on this in a moment).

As the game progresses, the enemies become increasingly more difficult. For example: hooded thugs – which can be killed in one hit – appear in the first couple of stages. But in later levels, enemies with special armor appear, and they can’t be killed unless the player either attacks them from behind or uses a projectile (i.e. bombs, shotgun, etc.).

Projectiles can be found by breaking open different crates that appear randomly throughout each level. For example: brown crates normally produce shurikens (i.e. throwing stars), while the grey containers offer a random selection of weapons such as bombs, shotguns and firearms with various capabilities, to name just a few. It should be mentioned that the ninja can only use two projectiles at a time.

Ninja Shodown could easily pass for a rogue-lite due to its ‘one hit’ game mechanics and lack of continues. The good news is that even though the player starts with three lives, they can earn more along the way. But sometimes this isn’t enough, especially when the player is first learning the game. The first couple of matches can (and most likely will) end relatively fast, until the player comes to grips with the game’s speed.

The game actually plays better as a multiplayer experience. Ninja Shodown supports up to four players via all three of its game modes – Arcade, Versus and Infinite. Online multiplayer is not available, though, which is a shame. Ninja Shodown would benefit greatly from an online community.

Graphically, Ninja Shodown’s visuals – while bright and colorful – appear a bit flat. This is offset by an enormous amount of blood, which explodes onto the playfield when enemies are killed. Magical abilities such as lightning (which randomly drop during the game) produce some of the more impressive effects seen in-game.

While not perfect, Ninja Shodown is a decent hack ‘n slasher that is sometimes hindered by its own simplicity. But as a party game – Ninja Shodown guarantees a fun time, regardless of the player’s age and skill level.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Bitmap Bureau
Publisher: RisingStarGames
ESRB: T (Teen)
Price: $14.95

Ninja Shodown Official Website:

Review Score
The 2D graphics are bright and colorful.
Fairly average sound effects, but a decent soundtrack.
The game actually plays better as a multiplayer experience.
Ninja Shodown is a decent hack 'n slasher that is sometimes hindered by its own simplicity.
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