Arts video game review

The things you do for carrots

A rather unusual beat ‘em up style video game

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Ninjin facing off against one of the many bosses in the game.
Courtesy of Pocket Trap

Ninjin: Clash of Carrots
Developed by Pocket Trap
Published by Modus Games
Rated E10+ for everyone ages 10 & up
Available on PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One
Releasing on Sept. 4

Based in an anthropomorphic feudal Japan, the evil Shogun Moe has sent a crew of minions to raid a small village of its precious yearly carrot crop. Then, amidst the chaos, a young rabbit by the name of Ninjin bursts forth and chases after the scurrying minions. This is what sets the plot for the main story.

Upon first play, the game seems fairly simple.The playstyle is essentially a scrolling beat ‘em up game with minimal controls to move, attack, and dash/dodge. The enemy attack and movement patterns are also rather predictable at first. Ninjin: Clash of Carrots also allows for local or online co-op, introducing Akai the ninja fox as a second playable character. Altogether, these elements pave the way for a somewhat challenging game with adorable art and nostalgic music.

However, this initial impression gets thrown out the window as the levels quickly evolve into bullet hells, which require an arm-numbing amount of button mashing to be conquered. New enemies are thrown at you left and right, and some bosses take a very concentrated mindset to beat (I’m looking at you, sumo bear).

Luckily, the option to completely customize your weapon and gear loadouts helps ease the blow from the ramped up difficulty of the game. Players can choose from a variety of weapons, from close-range to elemental damage to throwable, as well as accessories, such as orbs that increase your base health stat.

And if nothing else, the quirky writing of the game can provide a respite to players in between frustrating tidal waves of enemies bent on stopping Ninjin’s every advance. From Corgi Jr.’s unfortunate porta potty prison to Shogun Moe’s moody son, the silent protagonist’s accompanying companions and adversaries never fail to provide goofy commentary for the overall cartoonish ambience.