I don’t get too much time to play games any more (or update this blog, clearly). Sweeping epics and AAA titles are all on the backburner til Christmas. The recent Steam sales also kinda passed me by as I was pretty skint. One game I did pick up though was Super House of Dead Ninjas. Costing me a grand total of £1.74, it’s the best fun:cost ratio I think I’ve ever had in a game. I am most definitely in love.
SHODN is an easy one to describe, it’s the product of a messy love triangle between Mega Man, Strider and Shinobi (I really hope that’s not a fan fic). There’s pixel-perfect jumping, slashing, projectiles, one-hit-death and wall-hanging. It’s difficult, violent and bloody rewarding too. I can’t be bothered listing anymore so watch the trailer.
Best of all though, it’s a game I can dip into for five minutes or two hours. Progression, no matter how small, is consistently rewarded through unlocks. Whether it’s an upgrade to your weapons, an all-new weapon, or a different coloured attire for your ninja, there is a nice feeling that you’re actually getting somewhere every time you decide to play.
The house in the title refers to a tower. A tower you land on top of and have to fight your way down. As I progressed little signs popped up to tell me how far I’d managed to descend. Floor 250, 230, 210, dead. Right, time to start again, I can definitely make it to 200 this time. It strokes that little part of my brain titled just one more go. And after completion, you think to yourself “I bet I can take this in one life”. There’s so many little challenges throughout, that for someone like myself whose playtime is limited, it never feels overwhelming to get back into.
The experience is scalable too. If you like your games bastard hard, then SHODN will oblige. If you’re happy to stick to the normal difficulty and try and complete it in less lives as you go, then you don’t feel as if you’re missing out on too much of the game. The challenges to unlock each weapon mean you consistently alter your playstyle too, which keeps things relatively fresh. For something seemingly so straightforward, there is surprising depth.
Also, the protagonist is female. Fucking amazing right!? Seriously though, I didn’t even discover this until I was well into the game (I wasn’t paying much attention, what with the awesome gameplay and violence). A pat on the back for not fudging it and overly feminising what is a strong, capable lead. No screams, no seductive or suggestive sound-bites, and no damsel in distress here either. So what’s her motivation for all this ninja… stuff? The challenge. She just wants to get to the bottom of the tower to see if all the legends of a big bastard demon dude are true. A tale of a strong female looking to test one’s own abilities, surely that deserves some praise?
Aye, so I reckon this game is magic. Pure, classic, platformy, ninja goodness. It’s only a fiver on Steam just now, a more than fair price. If you bought it and liked it (or hated it and want to have a go at me) drop me a tweet or post a wee comment below. You should also keep an eye on the folk that made this here lovely game. They’re called MegaDev and they’re great.