Steam Game Review: Ukrainian Ninja (2014)

Posted by Retrokaiser On Thursday, February 19, 2015 0 comments

"Ukrainian Ninja" is an action platformer for the PC and has you playing as a little ninja battling his way though the mean streets of Ukraine.  This game opens up with a cut-scene going on about a brief history of the ninja and then going on about how a bunch of ninja traveled the world to open up dojos.  Once the game starts you'll find yourself learning the basic ninja tricks and battling guys with guns with your sword.  Other than that there's no story but ninja carnage and violence instead.  Ukraine will never be the same again.  (Click "Read More" to read the full review).

The story in this game is pretty much non-existent and with what goes on in this game it would be nice to have a story that went along with it.   The goal of this game is basic and that's just to overcome the obstacles and make it to the end of the level. Gameplay is very simple as all you are doing is running, jumping, and attacking.  The basic weapon you start off with is a katana (a type of sword) and it does decent damage and it can deflect bullets but you are left open to close-up attacks.  There are two other weapons you can buy during the levels, they are ninja throwing stars and a gun and there isn't any differences between them other than the speed of the projectiles they fire.

Yes I said you have to buy weapons during the levels and how do you do that?  Well in each level you can collect gold that's scattered around all over the level.  The gold comes in big and small sizes with the bigger coins giving you more gold than the small (I didn't need to explain that).  You can also get some extra gold by completing challenges that can be found in each level and all the challenges have you getting to a certain point of the level in a certain way and in a certain amount of time.

Controls are simple as you only require the "W", "A", "S", "D" keys to move around, "Spacebar" is to jump and hitting it again will cause a double jump, "Left Mouse Click" is to attack, "E" to purchase items from the store.  Once you've got that nailed down you can work on some advanced stuff like trying to deflect bullets, ledge grabbing, and wall jumping.  While this game does have simple controls you won't find them all that fun to play as they are very clunky and frustrating to use.  While frustrating, this game's controls used to be much worse but they have gotten a bit tighter with each update, so here is to this game having working controls in the future...  Even though the controls should've been tightened before it got released in the first place.

Level designs for the most part aren't that good as most of the level design looks like that someone just randomly placed platforms and walls without proper planning plus the levels were a bit boring to play through.  Not everything about the levels were bad as they did have their fun spots but a big reason why they got boring was due to the levels being really long to where the levels dragged out much longer than they needed to.  The level designs did improve on the fourth level as it was more fun, better designed, and well paced. 

In between each main stage you will get a special bonus level that has you either trying to survive as long as you can or have you being in a room full of giant gold coins and you have to get as much as you can within a time limit.  I wasn't caring much for the survival stages as I'm not really a survival mode guy but these stages were fine and I had no problem with them.  I did enjoy the gold coin bonus stages but the clunky controls made it hard to get through.  This game is also very short as it ends after the fourth stage.  The reason why the fourth stage is due to not all of the levels are complete yet and got me thinking "this must be an Early Access release" but turns out it is not and it is weird seeing a game in the works in the "Full Release" section on Steam (I'm sure this isn't the only title to have done that though).

Graphics in this game are average and looks like a mod for one of the old "Unreal Tournament (1999 - Ongoing)" games.  In fact when you die in this game it just pops up with the death screen from "Unreal Tournament 3: Black Edition (2007)" and that was a very brutal thing to witness.  Character design of the Ukrainian Ninja was very cute due to his small and petit look but what makes it weird is that all of the human enemy characters look more like a proper human and it clashes with the cute/petit look of the main character to where it looks awkward.  Animation in this game is not good at all as it is very stiff and can look very laughable when it comes to fighting giant machines.

The cut-scene at the very start of the game was decent as it was entertaining and the voice acting worked with the scene.  The main menu is also decent as you can control your character on a flat land with the keyboard while picking your menu option with the mouse.  One weird thing about the main menu is that when it is loading up you can hit "Esc" and choose "Exit" and it'll just restart the main menu instead of leaving the game.  The music and sound effects do work with the game and build an alright atmosphere.

Overall while this game is improving with patches it still isn't that great of a game.  I do not recommend checking this game out and it would've been better if it were a free mod for Unreal Tournament instead.  Not recommended.

Game: Ukrainian Ninja
System: PC
Developer(s): Michael Kissinger, Shaun Egan, Eric Pefley, Marco Hulden, Joshua Marks, Max Phillips, Roman Maslanka III, Dave Daniels, Vul Gerstal
Publisher: Dragon Fire Games
Genre: Action, Adventure, Platformer
Price: $4.99 (Steam)
Recommended: No


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