20/07/2021

๐Ÿฅ‹ Within The Blade | Nintendo Switch | Review | 8/10 | "Ninjas are cool" ๐Ÿฅ‹ @pixelshinobi #IndieGames #GameDev

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Within The Blade looked me in the eyes and said 'play me immediately'. A game that just screams '80s Ninjas and plays like a well oiled Bruce Lee is always going to evoke the memories of playing The Last Ninja and watching Enter The dragon for the 48th time after recording it on ITV at 11.30 on a Friday night.

The simple pixel art is a joy to look at and makes the Ninja setting feel even more nostalgic. Initially, you will walk into this game thinking Ninja Gaiden crossed with Shinobi but when you get down to playing the game and using the mechanics then you'll realise that this is a game of stealth whereby you only resort to all-out offensive carnage when your covert plans go to shit!

For me, the thrill of sneaking through the grass like a ninja snake is a rare treat in these types of games. It was even better when I realised the treetop canopy provides you with a sense of safety as you plot your route through the various clever AI adversaries dotted across the landscape. 

You'll also have to contemplate how to avoid the booby traps that the enemy has laid down for you to fall to your death on. This again adds another layer of strategy and complexity to the job of picking your way across the many well-designed levels and lifts it above the usual platforming tactics employed in older games from the genre.

Throwing RPG elements into this pixelated mix really ramps up the joy to be had with this title as you will get the opportunity to craft from the various ingredients collected in level which he can be turned into weapons: shurikens, poisons, elixirs, grenades, mines, as well as the main weapon the Ninjato and Kusarigama. 

You'll also gain experience for the past level completed, which will enable you to advance your Ninjutsu in the game. Again these mechanics really add a depth to the gameplay that I was not expecting when I started out on my journey with Within The Blade.

The only real negatives that I came across were during the Tutorial where I was confused about what it actually wanted me to do in order to progress so I ended up quitting it and going straight into the game proper which was a far better way for me to learn the mechanics. I also found that the inventory and crafting mechanics were a bit fiddly and not as easy to learn as they could have been but again this is a minor gripe.

The core gameplay of this game is a treat to play and is especially suited to the Nintendo Switch. It makes you feel like a badass Ninja when you execute your on-screen kills with precision and stealth as you survey your enemies from a treetop before striking from the air and dealing death to the baddies.

"Right, I'm off to watch Game Of Death while crawling around in the grass."

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