Super Hyperactive Ninja Review

By Megan Walton,
Ninjas have been prominently featured in video games for a long time now, whether you are fighting as them or against them. Mixing them with a coffee-crazed gameplay focus is entirely new, however. Super Hyperactive Ninja does just that in this accessible and fun platformer.

Every ninja needs a caffeine boostEvery ninja needs a caffeine boost

You take control of a ninja named Kohimaru, who has been tasked with retrieving the legendary coffee, which has been unfortunately stolen by a generic bad guy named Shogun. This is basically all of the story you are given at the beginning of the game, and after that simply left to complete the levels. The game doesn't really benefit from having this backstory, and similarly doesn't lose anything from the lack of story for the rest of it.

As with most platformers, the aim of the game is to get through a level scattered with enemies, obstacles and awkwardly arranged platforms. While these levels may be nothing special to look at, they are mostly fun to navigate through. Most of the time they feel pretty well balanced, never being too easy or difficult to reach the end of, but you will find frustration in some of the more difficult levels later on. If you thrive on avoiding death and trying to be as quick through a level as possible, then this kind of gameplay is perfectly suited to you.

At the end of each level you complete, you'll receive a ranking score based on how quickly you finished the level, how many times you died and how many items you used along the way. Searching for that lucrative S rank means probably playing and replaying levels a number of times, but the game encourages you to do this with secret paths to find along the way. Some of these are hidden in plain sight while others need a little out-of-the-box thinking in order to find them, and maybe even a special item or two to help you out.

These special items can be bought from the in-game shop, using money found in the levels, or certain characters will begin with a set number of their related item. Whether it's helping you to walk on water or climb walls, each character not only has a related item but also individual stats. Some may recover quicker and others may run faster, but you'll be able to see each character's stat as you unlock them, and they can then be used to go back through previous levels and go through hidden paths with their items, or use their better stats to try and get that S rank. Whatever you use them for, unlocking these extra characters is a definite help, and doing this as you progress past the boss levels in the game makes everything an easier ride. The boss levels break up the standard platforming gameplay, while still offering as much of a challenge as the rest of the game. Naturally, each boss fight comes at the end of a section and will often require you to use the item and/or character you've most recently unlocked.

Drink coffee, fight boss, repeatDrink coffee, fight boss, repeat

Coffee is the fuel to keep your character going, as indicated by the life bar as you go through a level. This bar with gradually decrease as you progress, and to keep it high you need to collect coffee cups along the way. Basic cups offer a little boost to your bar, whereas takeaway and bigger cups will fill it much more, but will often be in more difficult places to reach. These are often worth the risk though, and this is where your character's hyperactive mode will come in handy.

Activating this hyperactive mode will cause your character to run faster, jump higher and be able to grip onto walls in order to allow you to climb up. While this obviously has its benefits, your life bar will empty a lot quicker while this mode is active, though certain areas of the levels will require you to use it in order to progress. This is easier said than done, when awkward enemy placement means that using your hyperactive mode will result in death nine out of ten times. This is partly due to how hard it is to control, with your character running so fast and so out of control, trying to keep track of where you are going to jump and land can be very difficult.

This hyperactive mode is harder to use when you progress further through the game and have tougher enemies to get past. You will start with other basic ninjas, whom you overcome in one of two ways, either by running through them from behind or jumping over them and avoiding confrontation completely, but as you get later into the game, you will come across old men who shoot energy balls at you, dogs that run at you head on and other harder to beat foes. They add a challenge on top the already hard levels, but the fact you can simply jump over and avoid them rather than fight them head on does make things easier.

Avoiding enemies is easier when they haven't seen you yetAvoiding enemies is easier when they haven't seen you yet

Bringing all these elements together in a platformer is done well with Super Hyperactive Ninja, and is completed by the overall look and feel of the game too. The developers have obviously gone for the nostalgic pull, and have done so well, by still having modern graphics combined with an 8-bit soundtrack and basic moves which allow anyone to jump in and play easily. These pick-up-and-play elements compliment the nostalgic feel perfectly.

In terms of the game's achievements, there's a list of 35 which will be somewhat of a challenge to complete. Some of the achievements are gimme, such as taking a step and doing your first jump. S ranking all of the levels will be one of the hardest tasks, as well as picking up 9000 coffees and a whole bunch of money. It's a good selection of achievements and will be quite hard for the everyday gamer to complete, but will feel like quite the feat should you manage it.

Summary

Super Hyperactive Ninja has a lot to offer fans of the platforming genre thanks to a well-balanced approach present in most levels and boss battles. Some levels get frustrating thanks to some poorly placed enemies and obstacles that make clearing them more difficult than they should be, and this issue is only exacerbated by the game's caffeine-infused hyperactive mode, which leaves your character almost entirely out of control. It's meant to be an added challenge, but it goes just a bit too far and becomes quite unwieldy. Other than those moments, however, it's a fun if not exceptional platformer that genre fans should appreciate.
3.5 / 5
Super Hyperactive Ninja
Positives
  • Easy to pick up and play
  • Ranking system offers a decent challenge
  • Character and item variety offer replayability
  • Nostalgic look, feel and sound to the game
Negatives
  • Hyperactive mode is hard to control
  • Levels can get frustrating
Ethics
The reviewer spent a number of hours rushing round collecting coffee, defeating bad guys, dogs and old men, unlocking 17 of the game's 35 achievements. A download code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Megan Walton
Written by Megan Walton
Megan is a TA newshound and reviewer who has been writing for the site since early 2014. Currently working in catering, she enjoys cooking extravagant dishes, baking birthday cakes for friends and family in peculiar shapes, writing depressing poetry about life and death, and unlocking every achievement possible.