By: Guest Reviewer

On: June 11th, 2007


[Guest review by Xander]

Nikujin (direct link) is a bit of an oddity. It was created by a person known as ‘Ikiki’. And that’s everything I know about the creator, except that he created one of my favourite 2D-platformers. In Nikujin you play a ninja, who’s goal is to progress through a ninja fortress of increasing difficulty, utilising your ninja skills to ensure your survival. There’s no real tutorial to the game, so to run through quickly, the arrow keys are your directional movements, Shift is jump and Ctrl is your sword attack. Now, whilst this game looks simple, especially given it’s incredibly basic style, the gameplay gets a little more complicated.

There are special tricks to the game, which you can only really learn through experimentation. For instance, holding down when landing from a height allows you to roll, so that you don’t hurt yourself. If you land on top of an enemy, pressing down will stab your sword into his head, killing him instantly. You can then jump from there to get a vertical boost, from where you can hold up to cling to the ceiling. You can also hold up to run up walls, also achievable mid-jump, or whilst clinging onto the ceiling provided you are very close to a 90 degree corner. It’s certainly easier to learn through practice, as you will meet obstacles that will push you into realizing your capabilities as a ninja. For instance, you run at a set speed, but if you walk into a wall and then immediately run the other direction you will use the force to launch into a continuous sprint gaining you a significant leaping boost. Combat takes a back seat to the platforming, it’s really just a case of slashing the enemy a few times, or killing him before he’s noticed you, indicated by the Metal Gear Solid-style icons above their head.

Now, I wont lie to you. This game is hard. So hard. So very very hard. In fact, despite being one of my favourite games, I’ve never actually completed it. You have unlimited lives, but you restart at the beginning of each level every time you die. Bottomless pits, ninja assassins, leg-breaking falls, bamboo spikes, suicidal powder-keg lugging nutjobs and even a wannabe Musashi are just a taste of what will kill you over and over again until you finally master that level, where you promptly die again and again on the next one. It’s a punishing game, but thanks to an update, the game is now continuable from the start of the furthest level you reached. There are also bonus modes to take your mind off of the main game, such as a very painful time-trial which oddly features hints in the background of the techniques I mentioned earlier, even though half of the TT is actually far harder than a lot of the game. There’s also a survival mode, where an old bed-ridden…someone… is charged under your protection and you have to slay his would-be-assassins.

The music I must mention is pretty fantastic. It’s all midi, all the time, but there are some really catchy tunes in there. The survival mode track is particularly entertaining, and a nice song to slash arteries to. It can be a very fun game, it can also be an incredibly frustrating game, it all depends on how well you’re doing basically. It’s worth a play at the very least, and who knows, you might even finish the damn thing before I do.

P.S. There’s a rumour about bonus levels after completing the main game without continuing. I urge you not to attempt this, as you will undoubtedly find yourself tearing your computer apart with your own feet, unable to explain to your concerned family that the game was forcing itself upon you with it’s devilish trickery. Please, think of the children.

  • makeshifter

    there are multiple ways to get respect other then good grammar. sometimes its even that fact that you don’t use good grammar.

    but we are getting off subject. lets continue talking about the game.

  • makeshifter

    i found out that the ninja stars can be stopped with a slash of your sword. very hard to do but still easy as pie.

  • makeshifter

    that made no sense

  • MedO

    Finished the game as well as the training area (which was almost as frustrating toward the end) Great little game.

    Good thing it wasn’t made by Derek, because the bosses would have had about 5x as much energy then ;)

    Just kidding! But for your info, I still didn’t beat Baphomet’s second form in ED. I will, though, some day, I will…

  • makeshifter

    i have yet to finish the actual game. but i finished the training in under 3 minutes. that thing was a bastard. well i hope there is a sequel this game is FUN

  • Echo

    makeshifter: Do you have a best time? I managed 2:28 :D

    So, does anyone know anything about these bonus levels? Do they really exist, and what exactly do you have to do to unlock them?

  • Quiest

    I`m perfectly stuck here:

    Any help?

  • Echo

    Quiest: You need to jump on top of the purple guy when his back is turned, then push down to stab him from above. If you then jump, you’ll propel just high enough to reach the ledge above.

  • Echo

    Heh, ok… I’ve just finished the training level in 1 minute and 14 seconds. Best of all I recorded it! Check it out:

  • Echo

    I’ve just beaten the training level in 1 minute 14 seconds! Check it out:

  • Echo

    Damn it. I thought the first one didn’t post.

  • Jared

    Wow, Echo, very well done. I tried myself just now; got to the last part two seconds before you (you were a bit slow at the part 11 seconds in), but died three times getting to the arrow and ended up with 1:35. I envy your Nikujin skills :D

  • ptoing

    Whee, beaten the game.

    Friend of mine did this 59 seconds :D

  • ptoing

    Just beaten the game.

    Friend of mine did this :D

  • ptoing

    damn i suck at this posting business. :/

  • Echo

    Wow, your friend deserves mad props for the stylish way he handled that last jump :) That’s a seriously risky way to shave 3 seconds off your time!

    Damnit, now I have to finish that level in 58 seconds!

  • ptoing

    Another friend finished it in 57 but made no video T_T

  • PHeMoX

    Holy Cows and flying unicorns, that game is sweet!

  • makeshifter

    *jaw drops* and i thought i was good. crap i need to go play. btw how do you recored it on video all of my recorders say it doesn’t exist.

  • SpooN

    Have you noticed the medals you get under the highscore table after special achievments?
    I got one for beating timeattack fast enough, one for beating enough enemies in defender mode one.
    Then I got one after I finished the game with 72 killed enemies while being only two times spotted by enemies (kamikaze), leading to a score of 30k+. I don’t really know for what exactly that medal was.
    The last one I got was probably because I left a lot of enemies alive (that’s what the kanji means) but this time I was also the first time below 10 minutes (6 something) so perhaps it’s for speed.

    The medals I have are 0-0-00, apparently two more to go.
    Do you have the missing (-) medals and if so do you know how to get them?
    I tried being spotted a lot already but it didn’t work out (I was 61 times spotted). Losing no life is a possibility but I wasn’t able to do so up until now.

  • Tower

    that game is too hard … im stuck in first level on the 3rd scene or something.
    Well its pretty frustrating… -____-

  • alacc


  • EvilAmoeba

    The download link is broken. Can we get a mirror?