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Nikujin (PC)

Pirates or Ninjas? I donít know about you, but I have always been in the Ninja team. Fast movements, stealth-based missions, honor and most of all cool ninja moves have always got my attention. Games such as Tenchu (the first two games) and Ninja Gaiden are amongst my favourite games of the genre while being completely different (stealth vs. action). Nikujin, a game developed by Japanese indie developer Ikiki, is a game that mixes the experience from both of these games together. How well does it compare to these classics?

Nikujin is a 2D platformer featuring a naked ninja. You must guide him from one level to another by eliminating enemies, making precise jumps and using cool ninja moves like stealth assassinations, wall jumps and dropping from high heights without getting any damage. The game starts out by having you execute simple moves but quickly becomes really complicated, especially if you are not aware of the moves you can use. The thing that makes the game hard is mostly the fact that there are no checkpoints throughout the levels. If you die, you must start the level all over again (which can sometimes be a pain). The game also features boss battles that require the player to find the correct strategy to defeat them. They are a good change from the platforming/stealth the normal levels offer you.

Surprisingly, the tutorial included in the game (3rd option on the main menu) is harder than the actual game even if it does use checkpoints. The first few areas are really simple but get really complicated toward the end. Although it is really hard, any player who gets through this tutorial will be ready to tackle the main game. In addition to this, players can fight countless enemies in the Survival mode in case they are more into killing enemies than sneaking on them.

Nikujinís visuals are beautiful. Everything is presented in SNES-like graphics and the animations really look good. Also, the environments in which the character evolves really make you feel like you are making progress into darker enemies dojos. As for the audio, everything sound like you are playing a SNES title too. The MIDI-style music is great and so are the sound effects (sword hits, jump sounds, shuriken throws, etc.).

Nikujin is a though game (a REALLY tough game). So much that at some point I thought I would never be able to get through it. As I consider myself at not being too bad at video games (I have cleared many tough games like Super Meat Boy, N+, The Impossible Game and many more) so Iím pretty sure that most of the gamers out there will have a very hard time playing this game, an aspect that many could hate. Another little problem is that the game doesnít have any English voice or subtitles. While it isnít very important since the gameplay speaks for itself, some players might not like this.

Nikujin is one hell of a hard game. You will die, and die... and die... But above all of the ďfrustrationĒ aspect, it is an awesome game. If youíre not a harcore player looking to push your limits, you probably wonít like Nikujin. However, it will challenge masters of the Mega Man series and Super Meat Boy like few games do. Even better; it will give them a challenge that they will enjoy going through.

Nikujin is available on the PC for free at http://www.acid-play.com/download/nikujin .


- The gameplay has a lot of depth
- Great level design
- The perfect SNES-era feel of the game
- A lot of challenge for experts...

- ... but the game is way too hard for anyone else
- The lack of an English version makes it hard to understand much of the game
- The tutorial is harder than the final game (?!?!)

Gameplay: 8
Visuals: 8
Audio: 8
Lasting appeal: 7
Innovation: 6

Final Score: 8

Game experience at time of redaction: Game cleared
Redacted on: March 16th 2011
Uploaded on: March 16th 2011