Sega Ages Shinobi (Review) Nintendo Switch

Sega Ages Shinobi (Review) Nintendo Switch
Review Score:

Shinobi is a timeless classic that has challenged gamers of all ages for well over three decades. From its meager beginnings as an upright coin-op game – to being ported to numerous consoles and computer systems – the name Joe Musashi was once synonymous with arcade action-platforms, the same way Sonic the Hedgehog was with identifying Sega’s brand during the 16-bit console era.

The same can be said about the recent emergence of the Sega Ages brand; its an emulation-based system with unique parameters that can be manipulated by the player. For example: in the case of Shinobi – which is known to be a very difficult game – the player can ‘Rewind’ the gameplay when a mistake is made by pressing either the ZL or ZR button. But most importantly, Joe Musashi’s one-hit death penalty from the arcade game has been replaced by a two-hit system.

When an enemy hits the player, Joe Musashi will turn red. This means the player has one additional hit before they can be killed. In short, the player has to rescue children (which is a gameplay requirement anyway) to heal Joe. If doing this becomes too problematic, there is always the ‘Rewind’ feature to fallback on.

Shinobi’s side-scrolling, platforming mechanics have aged well. The game responds relatively well to the player’s input, as they run, jump, and shoot their way through large groups of ninjas and sword-wielding baddies. Since Shinobi uses a 2-level playfield, the player can push up on the Left Analog Stick/Directional Pad and press B button to jump to the secondary platform. From there, the player can avoid certain enemies and deadly obstacles like pits, among others.

Shinobi’s graphics are a mixed bag due to their age. The sprites look fantastic; they are rich with detail and animate smoothly. Even the bonus game – which has the player throwing shurikens at incoming ninjas –  looks great. It’s the backgrounds that suffer ever so slightly, with flat, bland colors used for most of the environments. This issue can be forgiven, though, due to the game’s age.

Gamers looking to experience classic, side-scrolling action will not be disappointed by Shinobi. Not only does the game look and sound like its 1987 coin-op counterpart, but it plays like it too. For Sega fans everywhere, this is all that really matters.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: M2
Publisher: Sega
ESRB: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
Price: $7.99

Sega Ages Official Website:

Review Score
Shinobi’s graphics are a mixed bag due to their age.
Classic 'clings and 'pings' accompany the memorable soundtrack.
Despite its age, Shinobi is still a lot of fun.
Gamers looking to experience classic, side-scrolling action will not be disappointed by Shinobi.
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