Ninjas have a way of leaving an interesting legacy in the gaming business. Ryu Hayabusa has been carving his way through enemies thanks to many Ninja Gaiden adventures; and Joe Hisaishi has managed to do his own thing with the Shinobi saga. But…what about Ninja JajaMaru?
Some of you may not be familiar with this particular hero. But for years in Japan, the JajaMaru saga has been entertaining fans with a number of 8 and 16-bit endeavors. Now, thanks to City Connection and Hello Guest, we get Ninja JajaMaru: The Great Yokai Battle +Hell, a revamp of a classic ninja game where you bust through platforms, destroy enemies and activate cool little effects, either on your own or with a friend in co-op.
This is timeless arcade-style fun, and a great game in its own right. But if you snag the Deluxe Edition for just $10 more (or physically through Strictly Limited Games), you can get a collection of the classic games, all in one convenient package. They aren’t all packed with over-the-top ninja excitement, but, as a whole, it’s a legacy worth celebrating on its own.
Think Bubble Bobble (ish) with Ninjas
The game has you fighting your way through a number of stages, jumping up through platforms or dropping down. You’ll shoot at enemies while also deflecting incoming fire, and can even bop them on the heads in an effort to distract them for an easy death. (But be careful! They can do the same to you.)
While the gameplay doesn’t evolve too much, there’s a bunch of cool little tricks to learn here, along with tons of Jalecoins (I see what they did there) to boot. And, again, you can play with a friend in local co-op; and some of the tougher levels show innovative design that will put you through your ninja paces.
You can also unlock additional characters and use some sweet goodies with your coins, including development art and old-school music. So, yeah, there’s a surprising amount of stuff to do with the $20 game.
Add $10, however, and you’ll also score five extra games, including the original Ninja JajaMaru-kun, the Game Boy version, and Super Ninja-Kid, which actually did get some exposure here.
They’ll keep you busy as well, though not all these games feature co-op support. No matter, we’ve got a legacy to preserve!
Not a Bad Presentation In the Least
City Connection and Hello Guest did a great job preserving the nature of the Ninja JajaMaru titles with this compilation. That’s not to say every game looks outstanding (the Game Boy one seems a bit bleached, but that’s Game Boy), but they’re true to their original efforts.
The reboot has some great visual flourish too. The graphics are nicely dated with retro touches, but there are some neat new effects as well. And the action rarely slows down at all, which is a good thing. More could’ve been done with the music, I admit, but it’s not bad, and do keep in mind this is coming from a legacy of games well over two decades old. I think we can forgive the age a little bit, especially when you get to some of the remixed tunes. Dig it!
Throw in some nifty technical features (hello, CRT) and boundless play for you and a friend, and you’ll have a ball with these ninjas.
Do the Thing With JajaMaru
While Ninja JajaMaru may not be as recognizable a name as Shinobi and Ninja Gaiden, there’s quite a series of games to be discovered here. Kudos to City Connection and its co-developer for giving these titles about the right touch we needed, while also loading the game with unlockable features. The $20 core release is a treat in itself; but adding a few extra bucks for (nearly) the full collection is well worth it. Now go do the ninja!
The Bottom Line:
Ninja JajaMaru has a nice reboot on its hands here, but it’s the Deluxe Edition, loaded with classic titles and unlockable goodies, that’s worth the investment. It’s a star! (Well, a ninja star.)
And don’t forget, you can get the game physically on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch through Strictly Limited Games, with all its bonus titles intact. You can pre-order that collection at this link!
Want a game console to play the Ninja JajaMaru collection on? We’re giving one away!