Japanese company Cave is known by many gamers as a producer of quality shmups since 1995: in fact, Cave has identified themselves with the shmup community so deeply, that most people can’t fathom a Cave product involving of another genre. Enter Nin2-Jump, a score attack platformer in the same vein as N+ and League of Evil.
Most gamers wouldn’t hesitate to pick up a new Cave game, given their pedigree, but how do they fare in the platform arena?
Nin2-Jump really gets straight to the point, Mario style: the princess has been captured by an evil spirit, and it’s the hero’s job to get her back, traversing across multiple worlds before his duty is done. All five worlds consist of ten maps each, and every one is timed, ranked, and has a secret optional “Cave symbol” to find.
Visually, Nin2-Jump’s aesthetic charm is hard to resist. The game is littered with beautiful Japanese landscapes, and neon bright fireworks light up the screen on a constant basis. Following along with the mythos, and the picturesque landscapes, most of the game’s enemies are based on old Japanese spirits, which is a really nice touch.
As you progress through the game, you’ll pick up two abilities – a hookshot, and the ability to go invincible momentarily by hitting the “RB” button. Managing your hookshot while simultaneously using your power makes for some pretty interesting gameplay, as the game’s enemies will fill up the screen pretty quickly in the game’s later levels.
Truth be told, I had a lot of fun whenever the Ninja brushed against a foe, because the game will slow down in a “bullet time”-esque fashion, allowing you to maneuver around aerodynamically at your leisure. All in all, the game controls incredibly well, and the level designs often feel like classic NES Mega Man titles; deadly spikes and all. To add to the Mega Man comparison, each world has a boss at the end that’s a blast to fight.
Nin2-Jump’s biggest fault is it’s criminal length. Clocking in at around 50 levels, which take around 30-60 seconds each to complete, there really isn’t a whole lot fo content here. Given it’s price tag of $5, it would have been hard to fault the game for being so short, if it weren’t for the fact that nothing really has time to develop, in terms of the game’s core mechanics.
Your hero gets his hookshoot ability fairly quickly, and after that, he doesn’t really do anything different for the rest of the game. The game also doesn’t get truly difficult until the last five levels or so, which is a shame, for Cave’s standards: in fact, I was able to “S” rank most of the game’s stages on my first try. You do have the option to tackle a score attack mode, but odds are after you’re done, all you’ll want is more levels (which may be coming, considering the game has a DLC menu).
Nin2-Jump is a bit of an anomaly: while it may initially appeal to Cave fans, and it is fun while it lasts, the game isn’t deep enough to whet said fan’s appetites.
Gamer Limit gives Nin2-Jump a 7.5/10
Editor’s Note – If you purchase Nin2-Jump from now until the end of June 2011, all of the proceeds will go to charity, helping Japanese disaster victims.