4.0 out of 5


  • Retro style
  • Fighters
  • Soundtrack
  • Co-Op


  • Annoying recovery time
  • Limited number of levels
  • No online mode

Switch, PlayStation 4
ININ Games
Action, Arcade, Beat-'em-up
File Size (Minimum)
450 MB
Release Date (NA)
Oct 15, 2019
Purchase From

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is a reboot of the 25-year-old Super Nintendo game The Ninja Warriors. The reboot received not only visual and soundtrack upgrades but also a couple of new characters and a multiplayer mode. While the game keeps its original roots intact, it is perhaps a little too faithful in some ways.

Going Retro

The Ninja Saviors reboot brings nostalgia to those who played side-scrolling, beat-‘em-up games like Double Dragon, Final Fight and Streets of Rage. The 16-bit style looks marvelous and its chiptune music fits well with the gameplay. It makes you feel like you warped back to the 1990s. It’s too bad there are only eight levels. The game is beatable in about an hour, and additional levels would have been a great feature.

The story is straightforward. In a dystopian future, an evil dictator has oppressed society. A group of self-aware android ninjas, led by the scientist Mulk, fight for the lives of humanity. How appropriate that The Ninja Saviors was originally released in the same era as The Terminator films, all being based on androids with human flesh.

There are five playable characters, up from three in the original. Each android ninja has its own unique style. A character like Ninja is slower but has heavy-hitting combos, whereas one like Kamaitachi is speedier and can land combos quicker. Being a retro game about ninjas, players may expect a fast-paced game, but that’s not the case here. The game sticks with the old-school gameplay where you walk across the screen to battle.

Some things are a little too retro, though. For instance, after getting knocked down, the time it takes your character to come back is way too long. In the meantime, you’re smashing the button on your controller, trying to get your fighter back on their feet faster, and you are reminded just how bothersome old-school beat-‘em-ups were. The easy solution? Just don’t get hit.

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors

One Hit Flop

Your character has a battery gauge, and it automatically fills up over time. When it’s maxed out, you can activate it to unleash a powerful move that wipes out enemies on the screen. Naturally, it’s quite useful against tough foes and bosses. However, taking a single hit from an enemy will wipe out the gauge, forcing you to wait until it replenishes. In short, when you’re in a pinch, it’s both convenient and irritating.

There are some hiccups, though. When you hit an enemy and then unleash a powerful move, don’t expect to deal double damage like you would in a modern game. Just like how your character takes a long time to get back on his or her feet, the same goes for enemies. They can’t get hurt if they’re already down. Timing is your friend, and knowing when to unleash those techniques and combos will go a long way.

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors

The More the Merrier

One of the newest features of the game is two-player co-op. Single player is a good time, but battling with a friend is even more fun. You may need the help, too, because there’s certainly enough to chew on during each scene. Respawning foes are distracting at times, but they’re easy to knock out. The robotic weapon is especially annoying to deal with, since it shoots lasers and makes long grabs toward you. Suddenly, not getting hit is a little more difficult.

Beyond that, some boss fights can be quirky. However, once you are accustomed to your fighter and the boss’s fighting pattern, taking them down is easy. Still, if your armor (health gauge) runs out, you will still have to option to continue from the game over screen, respawning in the same spot or close to where you fell before.

The reboot also offers trial modes and leaderboards but no online play. Considering how straightforward the gameplay is, this is a missed opportunity to add replayability.

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors

The Final Strike

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is an entertaining and welcome flashback to the 1990s. Those who are looking for some beat-em-up fun with a friend should take this game for a spin, even if it’s a short one. After all, who says android ninjas aren’t cool?

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors - Gameplay Footage

A PlayStation 4 review code was provided by PR Hound for this review. The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is available for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.

About Seth Hay - Editor-in-chief / Webmaster

When Seth is not designing or developing, he spends time with his family and his occasional dose of anime, sports and video games.

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