Ninjin: Clash of Carrots Review


Ninjin: Clash of Carrots was a recommendation from Twitter user @nolongergone, and It just happened to be on sale for a dollar on the Nintendo Switch eShop, so I hopped into action. I was actually able to get it for even cheaper thanks to some gold points I had previously accumulated. The game has an interesting premise, so following a recommendation, it wasn’t hard to make a decision. I’ve spent roughly 8 hours playing through Ninjin: Clash of Carrots and am now ready to serve up a mostly joyful review.

Run ‘em Up While you Beat ’em Up

Ninjin: Clash of Carrots is a beat ‘em up game at heart with a little endless runner thrown in for good measure. You can move in any direction you wish, however, you are always on the run. During your state of endless running you must defeat waves of enemies. You come equipped with a sword, which acts as your primary weapon, and can use it to slash and dash attack your enemies apart. Once you beat a stage, which ends when you beat every wave and/or defeat a boss character, you will move to the next. There is a world map, but the game is linear with no real choice, other than one specific bonus area.



Much like a traditional beat ‘em up game, the action can get repetitive at times, although there is enough variety in enemies and clever boss fights to keep things fresh. Ninjin: Clash of Carrots battles redundancy in another way by giving the player the option to customize a loadout, which adds some RPG elements to the mix.

Customizable Loadouts Lead to Tons of Content

As you progress through the game, you’ll pick up a variety of weapons and extras that can be equipped to make your journey a little easier. First up are your primary weapons: swords, hammers, spears, etc. Each primary weapon has a type, power level, range, and some even have an elemental type. Each stat affects your attack; heavy weapons are slow, but do more damage, while normal weapons are typically more balanced. Preference will dictate which style you feel most comfortable using; my personal preference being heavy swords with a long range.

You also have secondary weapons: kunai, boomerangs, etc. These weapons act as projectiles and can be used to get you out of some tight spots. There is one particular secondary weapon that can be utilized to clear large gatherings of enemies. This particular weapon moves extremely slow and bounces off enemies. Because of how this projectile acts, it can be tossed into the middle of a pack of enemies and will stick around until it eventually bounces off-screen.

There are other things that you can equip to your main character, as well. Things such as artifacts, of which you can equip three, that have different effects such as increasing health, stamina, and projectile damage to name of few. You will collect stones after beating certain bosses, which adds a special attack that can be unleashed after filling up the special meter. Lastly, there are costume items, which give the player no real advantages other than looking awesome. All of these items must be either found by collecting chests that are picked up after defeating enemies, or by purchasing them from the cutest corgi in video game history. Regardless, there is well over 100 items to collect and use.

One Small Stamina Issue

There is a stamina meter in the game and it depletes when you dash, after you throw projectile weapons, and even when you attack normally. I didn’t notice that normal attacks used stamina until late in the game, so it was mostly a nonissue. Stamina meters are typically used to help balance difficulty so players don’t just waltz through a game, however, tying regular attacks to stamina just leaves you helpless at times. I discovered this late in the game because that’s when the shit really hits the fan. I relied more on dash attacks, which quickly depletes your stamina, and found myself not being able to attack. This cost me my life a few times and it was certainly irritating, so I question the choice to tie regular attacks to a stamina meter.

Fun Story and Humorous Dialogue

The game’s story is quite simple: a big baddie steals something of value (carrots) and the hero saves the day. The reason for this action is something I found quite humorous, which is why this game’s story stood out to me. The game is filled with humorous dialogue, which includes the reason for the heist, but also one of my favorite moments which is one of the game’s bosses getting demoted to regular enemy. There are also cheeky references to pop culture, which not only includes other video games, but also film.



High Replay Value

I mentioned the amount of content in this game thanks to customizable loadouts, but the game offers replay value in other ways, as well. After beating a stage, you are awarded with a ranking, so you might feel determined to try to get the best ranking (an S ranking) on each stage. Rankings are earned by being more accurate with your sword and projectiles, avoiding as much damage as possible, completing a stage as fast as possible, etc. Replay value can also be found in a challenge stage that rewards you with unique equipment that can only be unlocked in that stage. Lastly, there is multiplayer, both local and online, so you could very well find yourself slicing and dicing alongside another player.

Conclusion

Ninjin: Clash of Carrots is a game that I probably would have ignored if it wasn’t recommended to me. Being able to buy the game for under a dollar also made it hard to ignore. It’s a surprising mix of beat ‘em up and endless runner with a dash of RPG elements that results in a tasty slice of carrot cake. It took me roughly 8 hours to beat, however, there is definitely a couple more hours of fun to be had with multiplayer and unlocking every piece of content.

Final Score: +4

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