Save the Ninja Clan review for PS Vita, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Sometimes You
Developer: Sometimes You
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

For some games, playing “spot the influence” is a little easier than others. Take Save the Ninja Clan, for example. It’s basically Super Meat Boy with a ninja skin.

This is probably a slightly uncharitable way of describing the game, of course. After all, there are plenty of twitchy platformers out there, so it’s probably more accurate to state that Save the Ninja Clan falls very clearly within a subgenre in which Super Meat Boy is simply the most well known game.

However you want to describe it, though, it’s pretty clear what Save the Ninja Clan is: a fast-paced platformer where you have have to make quick decisions every moment as you jump and dodge you way from point A to point B. Make one wrong move and you die a slightly gory death (though, admittedly, in a much less gory way than its more famous influence); succeed and you can hope to get a good grade.

The key question, however, isn’t “what kind of game is Save the Ninja Clan?’, since that answer is obvious. Rather, it’s “how well does Save the Ninja Clan steal from its predecessors?” And the answer to that question is a pretty resounding “Meh.” On the one hand, the game shows glimpses of personality with intentional glitches and little off-kilter messages to the player that suggest the game could’ve been made into something much greater than a Super Meat Boy clone. On the other hand, that would’ve required substantially tightening the controls, because what the game demands that you be able to do is frequently not what the game actually allows you to do, on account of the fact that — in the Vita version, at least, you’re not allowed to use the D-pad, and instead have to rely on the less precise thumbstick.

If Save the Ninja Clan were a full-priced game, that might be fatal to its chances — after all, the most important part of any twitch platformer is tight controls, and if it doesn’t have that, it doesn’t have anything. Seeing, however, as it’s well under $5, it’s hard to be too demanding of the game. Buy it if you want a disposable twitch platformer, and you may be surprised if you don’t expect all that much.

Sometimes You provided us with a Save the Ninja Clan PS Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: B