Apr 12, 2013
I’m a sucker for retro games. There is just something charming about going into the past with today’s hardware. I get especially teary-eyed when 8-bit graphics appear.
Kairosoft’s Ninja Village is that type of tearjerker that I’m talking about. Set in ancient Japan, it it is a city simulation set during the period of feudalism. It’s craftily set as a unification adventure that involves ninja clans, so in one swoop, I was getting some awesome backstory angles to work with.
Yes, the game came with retro looks, down the pleasant (for me) shaky movements and blended color. I liked the detail the developer put into creating a fun-looking environment.
The gameplay was a potent mix of civilization simulation and domination principles. Frankly, I really enjoyed the intricate nature of this title. Its game engine was pretty cool, and a lot of thought seemed to have been put into the basic logic. I was responsible for training and upkeep of my ninja warriors. A key component of this was the ability to manage my non-infinite resources. First, I had to do stimulate basic commerce to increase my funds; villagers needed food, and food also brought valuable cash when sold to merchants. I was able to build industry like farms and also able to build infrastructure for my growing clan.
Eventually, I received info that adjoining lands were available to be raided. I selected the troops I needed for battle, and then we got down.
The battles were nicely animated, with victory and losses clearly denoted. I thought that attaching a visual piece to the battle simulations was a nice touch. Victories invariably swelled our numbers, and more funds had to be expended to develop captured lands and to house new villagers. I had to train and equip my villagers with better weapons, because the other clans started getting so much better.
Acquired land and villages were generally useful assets too. The in-game tutorial notes helped a great deal, and navigation made sense after a while. I though the control mechanism was a bit “heavy” and I could have probably done without the music, but it could be toggled and I still think everything fit well together.
All in all, it was a fascinating trip with plenty of play that can be enjoyed across generations.