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.

  • Dan MacDonald

    Ahh man I love this game. You can spend hours learning the intricacies of the controls, but you can still have fun playing it with just a basic understanding of them. Do the training levels, they will push you and teach you to do things you never thought possible :)

  • ghosted

    Tis rather nice even if the collision detection is a little wobbly. However, it crashes every time I defeat the first boss. Anyone else getting that?

  • Dan MacDonald

    BTW the ending rocks :)

  • Hunty

    this game does not make me feel like a ninja. It just makes me feel frustrated. :(

  • raigan

    a lot of ikki/ikiki games are pretty awesome — just lots of really great small details. Here’s a page with lots of them, courtesy of jon mak.

    the commando one is my fave apart from nikujin, forget the actual name though — it’s top-view.

  • Echo

    Is there a fullscreen mode?

  • Xander

    Awesomesauce! Derek is all greatness all the time! Thanks for this, especially with the whole formatting and such. Hope everyone enjoys the game, or gets rediculously frustrated at it… just because that’s a little bit funnier.

    And Dan, YOU COMPLETED IT!? I’ve never been able to finish it. The furthest I’ve gotten is the second one of those red-bricked rooms, I just can’t get passed that one. I’m gonna try my damnedest tomorrow to get through it, or failing that I have the remastered Transformers Movie to perk me back up again. My current hope is that he finally breachs the innermost area of the fortress and all his ninja friends burst out with cake and confetti yelling ‘Suprise!’.

    Or maybe I’m just hungry…

  • Owlet

    Well its a fun, fustrating game. one of those “ONE MORE TRY…” games. If i could get past the third level it would be nice.

  • Jared

    I completed the game too, Xander, and I’m pretty sure the level you’re on is the hardest one in the game. Or maybe it’s the next one. But one of the last levels is so hard that it’s easy, if you can understand that. By the time you get past the one you’re on it should be a walk in a park.

  • Isador21

    Very nice platformer.

  • qnp

    Are those Ninjas naked in that screenie or wearing skin coloured clothes? xD

  • Derek

    They are *NAKED*, good sir!!!

  • Radix
  • qnp


  • KosciaK

    Whoah! Ikki has made so many games – got to check them
    Hakaiman (5th from the top with 05/09/17 date) is very fun shooter.
    On there are reviews of Teppoman and Teppodom – these like Nikujin but with guns and shooting

    BTW the2bears has made tutorial how to download from –

  • Gr.Viper

    Can’t figure out how to climb in the very first level. OK, ninja can’t use ladder but he also runs only half way up the wall. And then gradually falls down.
    Huh? O_o

  • TheDaddy

    DAMNIT, I defeated the first boss, got past the level with the suicide bomber and now I’m stuck on the level with Donatello!!!!

  • Echo

    This is pretty cool! (Even though there’s no fullscreen mode…)

    I’m stuck in the second dungeon level, after you beat the first boss. There’s this really high bit that I can’t reach :(

  • TheDaddy

    Same here Echo, I can’t get up their either!

  • Xander

    Most high areas on that level you can only get to by stabbing the enemy from above (Down arrow) and then jumping up from there. The only exceptions are the annoying wall-jump spike bit (Persistance needed more than anything else there) and the part underneath the red guy which I guess is the place you mean. (No bad guy to stab in the face, no extra jump height).

    If so, you need to run to the right, so that you can get the extra speed by running off the wall, then you need to jump onto the wooden crates on the left, then jump off the edge of that and try to cling to the ceiling so that you are as close to the left as possible. Then you need to sort of… jump left while clinging so that you jump to the left of the ceiling, then wall-run up the side of it, being careful that the powder-kegger doesn’t spot you. Sorry if that didn’t make much sense, but good luck!

  • TheDaddy

    I tried that Xander, but couldn’t get the height, is there anyway to double jump? :P

  • pkt-zer0

    How do you progress past the first brown enemy guy in the training level? I believe I’m supposed to stab the bastard from above, then somehow jump up to the next guy, but that doesn’t seem to give me enough of a height boost. Halp?

  • Joseph

    DAMMIT how do I turn off sticky keys…?
    Wish there were customizable controls. Awesomely frustrating good like the old days. Me like :D

  • Echo

    Xander: Thanks a million! That helped, but I’m still stuck on that level with the walk jump/spikes/grate bit after the bomber guy. A bit of practice is needed, I suppose.

    It’s been a while since I’ve played a game that was so… frustratingly fun :)


  • Levi

    @ Joseph
    Press shift 5(?) times quickly and click on configure (or something similar) and disable.

    It’s nice to see some of Ikki’s games getting some recognition.

  • Echo

    Bloody hell, this thing just gets harder and harder :( I’m stuck again and I haven’t a clue what I’m supposed to do:

    Here’s the bit where I’m stuck. Any ideas?

  • jonathan mak

    the commando game that raigan was talking about is Hakaiman which KosciaK mentioned. I forgot all about this amazing game! It’s not just a straight up run and gun, you actually have to figure out how to complete each mission’s objectives. The keys are:

    Z – Throw Grenade/Reload

    X – Change Weapon

    Shift – Punch or use

    CTRL – hold to strafe

    Z – hold to prime grenade

    J – suicide

    -some walls are breakable

    -most (or maybe all?) levels have a free 1up

    Here’s a gamehippo link to the game if you can’t stand vector:

  • eric

    Ecko: A hint. Rocket Jump.

  • eric

    Ecko: A hint. Rocket Jump.

  • Echo

    I’m sorta trying to do that, but I’m not having much luck :(

  • Xander

    That’s the solution, but it is an absolutely bastard to pull off. I think you can’t really worry about damage to yourself in the blast, you need to ride as much of the force on the way up as possible, which does hurt like hell. The red-dungeon areas are by far the worst, and I’d even try it myself now if I wasn’t a little too intoxicated to fight on. (This game requires reflexes that were unconcious 20 minutes ago)

  • Melly

    Whoever designed that camera should be shot. The damn thing is all fidgety with the slightest movement of the character, making the game far harder than it needs be. Maybe it creates some kind of immersive effect, but gameplay-wise it’s quite a horror.

    Everything else about the game is awesome, though. Gameplay is very interesting and fun, level design is great and the game is insanely difficult.

    If somebody could tell me a way to fix the damn camera.

  • negative zero

    @ Echo

    Yeh, rocket jump is watcha do. Stay in that exact position and wait for the red guy to turn around. when he does, jump him and do that stab thingy so he’ll stay in the same position when he dies. the moment he’s dying, a 3 click count down will go off followed by the blast. after the 3rd click, jump as high as you can so you can get caught in the blast that should propel you upwards. while in the air, just try to manuevre yourself to the ledge.

    atm i’m stuck on the level after that one…i think. it’s where there are a bunch of staff wielders walking along spikes at the beginning. i got to the end, but it’s fuckin hard cos there’s a bomb guy there as well where you need to do the rocket jump. anyone know where exactly i’m supposed to rocket jump onto? is it that ledge just above me and the crates before the rocket guy?

  • ptoing

    Uhh, btw, you CAN set your keys in nikujin. But you have to do it every time :/ In the first dropdown menue the 2nd thing from the bottom.

  • Echo

    Man, this game is fun! I eventually got by that rocket jump (it’s all about timing, as it turns out), and even the level afterwards (which is like, probably the hardest level I’ve ever seen in any game, ever).

    negative zero : You need to grab onto the blue tiles directly above him, at the corner, then run up the side of the wall to the end of the level.

    The bosses just after that are tough, though. The first two are fine, but I can’t beat the last guy. It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to beat the first two all over again everytime I fail, though :(

    So how many more levels are there?

  • Echo

    Ah, I see, there’s a trick to it. Teehee.

    Finished! The ending is awesome too, heh.

  • Echo

    I take it there’s more to these bonus levels than just finishing the game through on one turn – i.e. you can’t die even once?

    This should be fun :) Thanks for the awesome find, Xander!

  • negative zero

    phew, thanks echo. just finished the game. actually, i finished the game before, but using mmf to check out the levels…which was cheating :) it’s good to finally finish it properly though.

  • negative zero

    phew, thanks echo. just finished the game. actually, i finished the game before, but using mmf to check out the levels…which was cheating :) it’s good to finally finish it properly though.

  • makeshifter

    ummm in suck at this i get a picture of where im stuck

  • makeshifter

    i cant get a picture of it. if you could tell me but any way. im on the second level after the first boss. where you meet the bomb guy. help would be apreciated

  • Xander

    42 comments in, and -I- finally finished the damn thing. Honestly never thought the ending would’ve satisfied me after so much damned frustration, but it really did!

    Makeshifter; If it’s the second level after the boss (He’s above you right?) You need to run of the right wall, jump onto the wooden boxes and jump further left to cling to the ceiling. Then you need to jump up when he turns away and slash him into the wall.

    In the words of the great Nabeshin; Explosions fix everything!

  • makeshifter

    ummm i cant slash him into the wall. iv’e tried. but i found i can jump over him and just barely make it out. now i just need to know how to take pictures for this game.

  • Echo

    makeshifter: If you stand still while slashing him, he’ll stay more or less in place. What you need to do is run at him and slash while you’re still running, and he’ll get pushed back further beside the wall.

  • Pragma

    I’m convinced that you must actually *be* a ninja to pull this game off.

  • makeshifter

    i would still like to know how to take pictures

  • Derek

    There’s a button called “print screen” on your keyboard. Press it and then hit Ctrl-V to paste a screen capture into your favorite paint program.

    Also, when asking someone to tell you how to do something, try this handy template:

    “I would like to know how to [_]. Could somebody please tell me how to do that? Thank you in advance!”

    It works wonders.

  • makeshifter

    oh waaa, its just a question you don’t have to have perfect grammar for every thing.
    i mean at least its legible.
    oh and thank you for the print screen thing

  • Derek

    People will treat you with more respect if you use good grammar! And you’re very welcome!

  • 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.