What do you get if you mix virtual reality, Fruit Ninja and something like Gorn? Well, Ninja Legends, which is a game I had briefly heard of before I was presented with a review code this week. I say Fruit Ninja because you slice ninjas as if they were fruit and I say Gorn because you are in small arenas with some very questionable physics. Which is always a laugh.
In Ninja Legends there is a small story, something about rescuing scrolls from some bloke or something but I think it definitely takes a back seat to all the chopping, slicing and VR murder that seems to be occurring. I think you need some sort of narrative to drive you through the game’s small 18 stages but I barely paid it any heed.
Where Ninja Legends shines is its combat system, well that's all the game is really but when it does it, it does it well. You start with a katana in each hand and just have to fight through a mini arena of agile ninjas. I say agile because they jump all over the shop. They dive all over the place like skittish cats, just make sure everything is out of the way, you will be flinging your arms around like a loon playing this one. The ninjas attack in vast numbers and I will be honest with you, I was not expecting so much carnage or high-speed action. I was bloody knackered after my first play session.
Each stage plays out like an elaborate puzzle of blades and blood. You can block enemy weapon strikes, projectiles which get returned to the sender and with this knowledge you are then required to fight two, three, four or even more ninjas at once. Blocking, striking and rotating as necessary. Deciding what order to do that in and figuring out how to handle each enemy is where the fun lies. It is fast, fluid and a hell of a good time.
Later on, you will get access to new weapons and special abilities that can also be utilized in your struggle against a never-ending string of ninja adversaries. They really never stop attacking you, the game bombards you over and over again and I loved that about it. You get the odd second here and there to regain some footing but before you know it there are another 3 enemies surrounding you, ready to be dismembered. Poor buggers. Seriously though, where are all these ninjas coming from?
Overall, gameplay-wise, while being fast-paced entertainment, I feel Ninja Legends can get quite repetitive during longer sessions due to you just standing on the spot killing endless waves of enemies. I tried to mix things up by using different weapon combinations and playing in shorter bursts, which did help a little. There were some really great moments throughout the game and when you pull off great manoeuvres it feels awesome. I shot a shuriken out of the air with my bow in slow motion, then blocked another ninja at the side of me and got a triple kill all in one smooth movement. I am a bloody ninja, I knew it all along!
Graphically, while Ninja Legends will not win any awards for its presentation, it was pretty enough. Everything is legible and looked good on the low resolution of the PSVR headset. It's the same with the music, while it was not memorable in any way, it did fit the style of the game and it kept you immersed in the martial arts theme of the game. The sound effects were good, the clanging of steel and the squelching of dismembered limbs all sound excellent.
The VR implementation is very good in this game too. I had zero tracking issues, zero issues with camera placement or anything irksome of that nature. I always say VR 'messiness' can put you off playing a game or stop you enjoying it to the fullest. That is not an issue in any way with this title. Even my boys loved it and due to them being quite small, sometimes VR games have an issue with their height but that is not the case here. We were all left to chop up ninjas, hassle-free.