Becoming a ninja takes years of practice and skill, thankfully though you can drop a few dollars and become a ninja in the time it takes to download a copy of Ninja Legends from the Oculus Quest Store. But does this game make you feel like a ninja legend though? Let’s find out.
First you must learn the basics of being a ninja before you enter into the game’s story campaign, which consists of up to eighteen levels of various enemy ninjas, across four difficulty modes, all whilst unlocking, learning and wielding your newly collected ninja weapons along the way.
Entering the dojo for your first training session, you begin to learn the ways of the ninja by learning how to swing your two katana swords on some test ninjas. The more powerful you make the strike, the more damage your attack has. After completing this trial you enter into the first level in the game. This is where you encounter some of the more easier ninjas in the game, who each approach you face on and relatively independently. As each level progresses these enemies soon run past you and also approach from behind. So you can imagine this soon becomes quite frantic, as you try to keep each enemy ninja’s location in check, whilts blocking each attack they make, and more importantly keeping yourself alive.
Thankfully Ninja Legends plays its depth in gameplay card by offering new weapons and Shadow Skill abilities along the way. After completing the first few levels you soon replace your two katana swords with either a new sword, claw or staff-based weapon, each unlocks at certain stages in the story campaign. As you progress new weapons such as Claws, Staff, Odachi & Wakizashi, Gauntlets and Naginata unlock. In short, this makes for three types of weapon-based gameplay mechanics. Swords are the first, then you progress on to the Claw, a more melee-based weapon, and finally, there is the long-range Staff weapon. Each weapon type offers varying levels of gameplay to them, but in reality, you are still swinging your arms like a mad man with every attacking ninja you face.
You Shadow Skill abilities help break up this arm flapping gameplay. These are triggered by building up a blue mana-like force by chaining attacks and generally killing ninjas that approach you. Once your meter is full, you simply trigger your Shadow Skill by depressing both grip buttons together. Doing so enters you into a bullet-time sequence where you get some time to fire your Shadow Skill at a single enemy, or more if you have a full meter.
Whilst in Shadow Skill you unleash one of many unlockable Shadow Skills. Skills come in the form of a bow and arrow at first, but more skills are unlocked in later levels, such as a StreetFighter-looking Hadouken Energy Blast move, to a Mortal Kombat-
With your weapons and Shadow Skill abilities carefully chosen, you simply face waves of bad ninjas and bosses in each level that slowly increases in volume and difficulty along the way. This difficulty increase is usually the number of ninjas you face, along with ninjas that require multiple attacks before they are completely killed. This means you usually have to fend off their incoming attacks. These range from floor, aerial and projectile attacks that you have to block or counter before you get to cast another attacking blow.
With its 360 degrees nature of combat, Ninja Legends is a very highly active and frantic game. With its endless and daily challenge modes, you could easily slot this game into your VR fitness regime. I recommend that you have a big space for this game though. Similar to Superhot VR, you do have the urge to reach out and lunge at ninjas around you, and without a large enough guardian, you’ll be brushing the walls with your Touch controllers in no time. I did try this game outside, and it felt much freer to lash out and lunge my attacks at nearby ninjas – the outdoor breeze also helped with the immersion, as the game’s bamboo forests and fields also blow in the wind.
Ninjas Legends’ story mode is quite a challenge and it is no easy game to complete. Once complete though it is unlikely that you will return to the story campaign, as all weapons and abilities will be unlocked. But if you want more of a challenge you can up the game’s difficulty to really test your ninja skills.
To improve on the game’s retention you have the endless and daily challenge modes to compete in. In endless mode, you can pick from any of the 18 unlocked story levels and fight an endless wave of ninjas – great for fitness. Daily challenges are exactly as the title suggests, you get a countdown to fulfil the set challenge, again this is a great mode to slot the challenge into a regular fitness routine.
Ninja Legends costs £14.99 from the Oculus Store, and that’s a respectable price for what this game offers you. Its graphics are decent, and it suits the headset’s limited capabilities. Sounds in the game are on par with its graphics, with traditional oriental music, windpipes, grunting ninjas and clashing sword strikes – all the things you come to expect from a title with Ninja in the name. Whether you want to feel like a badass ninja, or you want a different form of gameplay to add to your VR fitness routine, Ninja Legends is a decent romp.