The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors (Review) Nintendo Switch

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors (Review) Nintendo Switch
Review Score:

A remastered release of the Super Nintendo game, The Ninja Warriors — Natsume’s The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors for Nintendo Switch revives an iconic, 2D side-scrolling beat ‘em up that once existed during the height of the genre’s popularity. But unlike the original release (which only had three selectable fighters), the Switch version includes five playable characters (two that unlock after completing the game). In addition to this upgrade, the game also has revamped 16-bit graphics, improved sound by Taito’s band Zuntata, and an online Leaderboard for competition.

The game’s story leaves little to the imagination: As one of the game’s robotic protagonists, the player is tasked with defeating Banglar the Tyrant and his evil army of human soldiers and cybernetic killing machines. What lies ahead is probably one of the most challenging arcade beat-‘em-ups in recent memory. Hardcore fans of the genre take notice.

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors pulls no punches(sic) where gameplay is concerned. Once a fighter is selected, the game sends the player headlong into the action, where they are immediately attacked by Banglar’s soldiers. As the player presses forward through the level, their ninja has a variety of attacks at their disposal to battle through the clout of enemies that appear on-screen. (These special moves vary based on the character chosen). For example: Kunoichi – the sword-wielding, female ninja from the first game – is a well-balanced fighter who relies on her katana sword. Her basic combo – which is performed by rapidly tapping Y button – deals a fair amount of damage, but it pales in comparison to her aerial sword flip (which is performed by pressing B button to jump and Y button to attack) and her defensive throw (which is executed by pushing up on the Analog Stick and then pressing Y button at the same time), to name just a few. Like Kunoichi, the available moves for both Ninja (the game’s brawler-type) and Kamaitachi (the faster fighter of the three) are all the same, even though the attacks themselves are different. This means that once you learn one fighter, the others are easy to master.

Surviving the game’s 8 levels is a different story entirely, though, as the player hacks, slashes and pummels their way through large groups of human solders, heavily armored robots, and larger-than-life bosses. Along the way, the player can also pick up crates, metal boxes and vehicles, and throw them at nearby enemies. Each minja has a special attack that can clear the entire screen, but only when the Battery Gauge (which is located below the Armor bar at the bottom of the screen) is full. When this ‘special’ attack is used (i.e. do this by pressing the A button), the ninja in question will unleash a napalm-like explosion that decimates everything on screen. This skill is especially useful during boss encounters.

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors supports local, 2-player co-op via the ‘Multi Player’ function located on the main menu. The only issue with the 2-player co-op game is how both players share the same resources (i.e. Armor, Battery Power, etc). If a player performs badly (i.e. they tend to sustain damage more often), they will inherently make the game harder for their partner. Enemies will drop Armor canisters along the way to replenish health, but it doesn’t happen often enough during a 2-player excursion. Basically, the game feels like a struggle from start to finish, due to these limitation(s). Just make sure that whoever plays is familiar with beat ‘em ups.

Graphically, The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is a feast for the eyes. The 16-bit graphics have been reworked and appear to have more polish than the original game. Even the 2D sprites (both the ninjas and their enemies) animate smoothly. The bosses are probably the best-looking enemies in the entire game. These hulking masses of robotic engineering not only tower over the player, but some of them occupy a good portion of the screen. These imposing, cybernetic monsters are good at making the fight feel claustrophobic due to their imposing size. The entire presentation is top-notch, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Despite the aforementioned issues regarding the 2-player co-op feature, The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is an absolute gem of a game for Nintendo Switch. The game not only captures the era it represents, but it also flawlessly maintains the game mechanics and gameplay that made it an instant classic in the first place.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Natsume Atari
Publisher: ININ Games
ESRB: T (Teen)
Price: $19.99

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors Official Website:

Review Score
Polished 16-bit graphics enhance the experience.
The soundtrack is rockin'.
Challenging from start to finish, but not overly difficult.
Hardcore beat 'em up action that isn't for the feint of heart.
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