Ninjin: Clash of Carrots is excatly what I imagine would happen if your pet rabbit went out on the sesh and took a load of acid. Blocky retro style graphics are complemented by extremely garish colours with every new achievement, enemy and weapon being announced with outlandish zest.
Ninjin makes it work because everything in game happens so bloody quickly. Events occur on a 2D plane, your rabbit running almost constantly from left to right to keep up with the scrolling of the screen. Enemies can appear from either side that said, so you always need to be keeping an eye on the on-screen prompts.
Did I mention your rabbit is carrying a huge sword? Well, that has a range of attacks, all mapped to various presses of the attack button. Your basic cannon fodder type enemies are easy enough when they appear by themself. Except, that very rarely happens. Typically you’ll see groups of enemies of a dozen or more often completely filling the screen.
This is where your dash button comes in handy. You can use it to nip behind your foes as they appear on the screen at your aft. Or if there’s a big group in once place, your bunny rushes at them, doing massive additional damage and potentially knocking out the whole group at the same time.
Oh and you can shoot arrows too; most useful to take out the odd adversary that doesn’t like it when you get up close. In truth, everything happens so quickly, that most of your time is spent mashing the attack button, then chasing round the screen hoovering up any carrots (and rainbow carrots obvs) that tactics go out the window pretty quickly. Levels are divided into stages, usually culminating in a final boss, but again, it’s hard to keep track when you’ve got a thousand deadly red blobs on the screen at once.
That’s not to say there is no fun to be had. The action is manic. Add in a co-op partner, playing as a ninja fox (there’s two words that don’t usually go together) and a little bit of competition as to who can collect the most carrots and you’ll find an agreeable multiplayer experience waiting for you. Your progress is graded at the end of the stage, but I could never quite work out what made the difference between a good run and a bad one.
The aforementioned carrots of course, have been stolen, by a robot thingy, who looks suspiciously like a 16-bit Dr Robotnik. There’s a load of text explaining just why you’re doing so much running and what it is you did to the flying robot to force him to steal your carrots. Unfortunately, I found myself skipping over much of it, just to get to the next period of action.
The longevity here comes from all of the collectibles to be bought with your carrot currency. There are more than 100 weapons to unlock and even more items with various effects on your run. To Ninjin’s credit, weapons do feel unique and certainly vary up the look of the game. Hitting mobs over the head with giant carrot sword just doesn’t get old.