The super-hard platformer is a type of game that has seen a surge of popularity in the past few years. Games like Super Meat Boy and Celeste challenge players to keep pushing forward to reach that ultimate goal. Dying is all in the name of the game, as you use those deaths as a way to learn from your mistakes. Super Hyperactive Ninja, from developer Grimorio of Games, is a similar in vein, but isn’t quite as much of a showstopper as the games occupying a similar space.
The fairly generic villain Shogun has kidnapped all of the coffee in the ninja village of Kohinomura. As the ninja Kohimaru, you need to not only save the coffee, but your friends as well. That’s the gist of the story here, as it is not a very big factor here.
As a platformer, you’ll be running, jumping, and defeating enemies. The trick is, however, that to complete a stage, you must enter hyperactive mode. Your speed is increased, you are able to wall jump, and it is the only way you can get rid of enemies. There’s just one drawback. You can’t control your direction. So you need to be make sure to time those jumps perfectly.
To engage in hyperactive mode, you need to have ample caffeine. Caffeine, of course, is filled up by consuming coffee found throughout each level.
There are times when the hyperactive mode was actually to Super Hyperactive Ninja’s detriment. Say you’re running down in hyperactive mode, jump down a ledge, only to be surprised by a set of spikes you didn’t see. There is a danger in not having enough time to react and survey your surroundings. But then again, isn’t that kind of the point? Learn from your mistakes so you can move on when you restart.
Save for a few exceptions, death never felt cheap in Super Hyperactive Ninja. Death can be frustrating, yes, but most of the time playing I never felt like it was anything other than my own fault. However, when a death didn’t feel justified, it was instead most likely due to the controls, which are less than perfect.
There are some questionable design choices here. Anytime you leave hyperactive mode, there is an animation of your character catching their breath. Narratively it makes sense, but in execution all it does is leave you vulnerable for precious few moments. There were quite a bit of times where this cost me my life.
At the end of each stage, you are graded on your performance. As if playing Super Hyperactive Ninja wasn’t stressful enough, that gives you an extra motivation to keep pushing forward. If you want a good grade, you better start practicing each level.
There are unlockables like extra characters, which help add a bit of variety. Characters have their own unique skill, which can change how you approach a level. There are also hidden pathways in each level, giving those hardcore players something a little extra to try and pursue.
Super Hyperactive Ninja has some solid ideas. A ninja game that’s focused on coffee is a charming concept. The frantic platforming gameplay evokes many modern classics. And there is a push to keep trekking, and learn its ways. However, so-so controls really prevent it from reaching the upper tier of ‘hardcore platforming games’.
But it still has its charms. A vibrant (if a bit generic) 2D art style really helps Super Hyperactive Ninja pop. It’s a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, as shown by its basic concept. While it probably won’t be remembered as a classic, if you’re into games where the goal is to keep playing and keep improving. Super Hyperactive Ninja is a game that makes you work, but for some, that may be exactly what they want.
REVIEW CODE: A PS4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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