Ninja Legends is both a terrific game and a great workout. I reviewed the title here lauding it for its fast-paced, relentless 360-degree action that sees you fending off wave after wave of dangerous warrior hordes. The intensity never lets up and whilst the game mechanics are simple, the amount of unlockable weapons, secrets, bonus content and difficulty levels ensure the game has plenty of staying power, with enough to keep the player coming back for weeks.
Well, developer Coinflip Studios are clearly not a team to rest on their laurels as they have now fired off an awesome update that adds 6 extra levels and some great new weapons to the game. They’ve called it the archery update but this enhancement actually adds a whole lot more and responds directly to some player feature requests.
For a quick video overview of the content who better to introduce the new features than the developers themselves, watch the brief introduction video below and then we’ll continue with the review.
As you can see from the developer log they’ve clearly worked hard on coming up with multiple ways to implement the archery into the game.
Bow Handling Tips
Before we get to the levels a quick mention needs to be made concerning the bow itself, as it handles a little differently from other games I’ve played in the genre. At first I found the bow kept glitching every time I pulled back the bowstring and held it up to my face.. I thought the inside out tracking on my Quest was going a bit funky but I think it’s actually by design. The bow is intended to be drawn to below your chin and I was pulling back higher, up to my eye. Keeping the string slightly lower fixed the issue completely for me and also allowed for greater accuracy as you can clearly sight towards your target. If you’re having trouble with your accuracy the developers posted up a short tutorial on aiming with the bow which is very helpful and improved my target hit percentage instantly.
6 New Levels
The update includes 6 new levels, all purely archery focused, and therefore very different from the main game.
Base Defense Survival
Archery Levels 1 & 2 are variants on the tower defense idea and they actually serve as prequels to the main game. The story narrative of the game proper begins with you defending your dojo from attack after it has been infiltrated by enemy troops. The archery defense levels actually cover that initial attack and have you cast as a lone archer trying in vain to defend the town, and your dojo from being overrun.
If you’ve ever played the Longbow mini-game from Valve’s The Lab, level 1 plays out like an homage to that title. You have to defend the gates to the dojo as enemy troops continuously pour in. Like Longbow you stand above the action looking down, although not on castle ramparts, but upon a wooden tower. There’s more movement here though as you can fire an arrow at any of several archery targets to be teleported to that location, allowing you to pursue your foes if they run past. There is no way to win the level, the city is doomed to fall, but there is a global leader-board and the longer you last the higher you can place. Can you take the top spot?
This level has some cool effects, including giant boulders being hurled towards the gates which you need to destroy and green hulk-like orc ninjas that attack you by throwing shuriken stars, that you must deflect back at them by shooting them midair with an arrow.
It’s a fun level and offers a completely different experience from the main game.
Level 2 is more of a shooting gallery, as you fight from the rooftops above the street as enemies leap down onto the cobbles below. Again you can’t beat the level, the goal is to survive as long as you can. The main game story mode picks up from this point.
Levels 3 – 6 are target practice modes. As with the core game-play, these really utilize 360-degree movement well. Targets appear in all directions, some stationary, some moving, all of them present for only a short length of time. The landscapes although simple are wonderfully stylized with giant trees and waterfalls adding a strong visual appeal. One level is timed where you must score as high as possible within 2 minutes, two of the levels are survival modes and one reminded me of Holopoint with projectiles to dodge as you shoot the targets.
Although the game remains single player these modes, in particular, will likely appeal to high score junkies, who want to demonstrate their mastery of the bow by proudly enshrining their name atop the global leader-board. It’s a nice change of pace from the furious action of the main game and the content is developed enough that now Ninja Legends can be considered as an archery game to compete with the likes of Elven Assassin and Quivr.
Main Game Enhancements
If the new levels were the only additions here it would still be a very welcome update. But the main game itself has also been substantially improved in my opinion with several exciting new weapons being introduced.
First off, in a brilliant design choice, the new bow is allowed as your primary weapon in the main game. This is terrific fun, with dozens of enemies charging towards you whilst you halt their onslaught with a hail of arrow fire. Best of all the arrows stick into the enemies and stay there meaning the large heavily armored bosses especially continue their advance whilst peppered with more arrows than Boromir during his fall at the Great River Anduin! The bow is ridiculously overpowered but it’s super satisfying to obliterate everyone that dares to stand before you. I thought this was going to be the highlight of the update for me until I discovered the new weapon, a giant dual wield battleax!
Oh.My.God! Facing off the later levels of this game armed with the battleax ranks as one of the most empowering and exhilarating feelings I’ve ever had in VR. There is nothing subtle about this battleax. It’s huge, blocks practically all attacks when held in front of you and when a blow is delivered with full force it will cleave a man in half, lengthwise! If you’ve ever wanted to feel as powerful as Sandor Glegane or the Mountain from Game of Thrones, this is the weapon for you. I spent about 45 minutes non stop playing with this weapon. Every swing and slice sends whole body parts flying, even hewing three men in half in one go for an ultra kill. It’s not at all child-friendly but if you’re stressed from work or your boss is ticking you off then load up Ninja Legends, grab the battleax and get all that negative emotion out as you wreak bloody carnage!
A popular player request has also been added, a single Katana mode instead of the usual two, for those true ninja who want the ultimate challenge!
Overall this update has added hours of additional quality content to what was an already highly re-playable experience. If you like sword and archery combat games and haven’t tried this one yet I highly recommend it.
Ninja Legends is available for the Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S on the Oculus Store priced $19.99 and £14.99 and supports crossbuy. It’s also available for all other PC VR headsets on Steam.