PS4 Review The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors PS4 Review

The Ninja Saviors Return of the Warriors PS4 Review

Whether you call it a remake or a remaster (though arguably the offering veers somewhat closer to the latter), The Ninja Saviors; Return of the Warriors is a masterful resurrection of The Ninja Saviors: Again, a Super NES take on The Ninja Saviors arcade game from 1987.

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors PS4 Review

A 16-Bit Classic Is Given New Life

A side-scrolling slasher very much fashioned in the classic template, The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors acquits itself accordingly as far as its premise is concerned too. Set in a dystopian future where the President of the United States has introduced martial law across the country, a mad professor creates a group of android ninjas (because what else would you do) to murder their way to liberty and restore order.

This is very much 1980s DTV fodder and make no mistake, though for all intents and purposes such a wafer-thin setup serves only as fittingly the thinnest of platforms for Return of the Warriors compelling gameplay to sit upon and little else.

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Return of the Warriors is a pitch-perfect port of a classic

After choosing your character from one of three shinobi to start with (the remaining two are unlocked later on), Return of the Warriors takes players on a whirling dervish of violence across eight side-scrolling levels. Assailed by foes originating from the left and right side of the screen, the goal is quite simply to vanquish as many as you can before that classic beacon of permitted progress, a flashing GO sign, appears and informs you that you can push on towards the boss for that level.

Combat is pleasingly simple – you can attack, link up offensive combos, throw enemies if you’re close enough and perform flying kicks and the like. There is further nuance to Return of the Warrior’s sideways retro violence too, as items in the environment can be tossed at enemy foes (as can you also throw your adversaries at one another), while explosive elements, such as gas canisters and so on, can be used to inflict huge damage on a group of foes. Where things gets a little more sophisticated is when we take into account how the batteries which power these murderous robots figure into things.

Constantly recharging, the batteries fastened within the mechanical shell of each of these robots allows them to unleash a screen clearing explosion, or, a quick press up on the directional pad makes our resident murder bot unleash a ranged attack which only needs the bar to be partially charged to be accomplished. The kicker here though is that the battery meter, though constantly recharging, can be interrupted if the player suffers damage – enforcing a surprisingly nuanced level of strategy as you seek to maintain a battery charge for a challenging encounter at some point later on.

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The bosses in Return of the Warriors are hugely challenging affairs that reward patience and skill in equal measure

Speaking of challenging encounters, Return of the Warriors cast of enemies prove to be a varied lot, each requiring their own bespoke strategy. Sure enough, you have your single hit grunts that can be defeated easily, but soon enough more capable enemies come onto scene, boasting different attack patterns which must be reckoned with in addition to their combination with other enemy types.

Likewise, more nuances of Return of the Warriors deceptively deep combat system become apparent later on in the game. Picking up objects in the environment and holding them aloft before you throw them at your enemies provides a second or so of temporary invulnerability, just one more element that can be folded into your offensive arsenal.

Arguably though, nowhere is the feeling of satisfaction more distilled, more pure, than when you down one of the game’s challenging bosses. Indeed, as you finally unravel the attack patterns of a boss, exposing their weakness, the feeling of gratification is both palpable and moresome – the reliable replication of such thrills proving to be an compelling hook to ensure you see Return of the Warriors through to its end.

Return of the Warriors Is An Effective, If Unambitious Resurrection of a Classic

Once that end does come, the prospect of what else can be done to secure the attention of the player looms into view. Offering a local co-op two-player mode, two new player characters unique to this version of the game, a time attack mode and of course, a raft of trophies to be collected, Return of the Warriors boasts a fair amount of stuff for players to get stuck into after the credits have completed their roll (a fact that is certainly a boon given its budget price).

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Making frugal use of the environment is key

That said, it’s difficult not to want more from this port. Whether that’s extra modes, new stages or something more adventurous done with the game’s aesthetic, it’s hard to deny that the work done in this port undoubtedly errs towards the conservative. Of course the flip-side of that truth is that Return of the Warriors manages to pull off a commendably great port of a beloved classic that has aged surprisingly well on contemporary consoles.

From the ornately upscaled 16-bit style visuals and audio to the enduringly tight controls, well-judged learning curve and challenging enemies, Return of the Warriors is a definitive if somewhat restrained port of one of the most enjoyable side-scrolling slashers of the 16-bit era.

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is out now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch in the UK & EU. The North American release is set for October 15, 2019.

PS4 review code kindly provided by by publisher.



The Final Word

The lack of massive changes to The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors bears a naked truth - there wasn't much needing to be changed in the first place. A challenging and resolutely satisfying side-scrolling slasher, fans of the IP's vintage and retro actioners in the genre at large will find much to enjoy here.