How do you improve upon the design brilliance of Pac-Man? Well, Pac-Man Battle Royale was probably the perfect evolution of the original maze masterpiece, however; a challenger has appeared. Nutjitsu, from the brilliant minds at NinjaBee, the developers of such personal favorites as Band of Bugs, Outpost Kaloki X and the Keflings series is a perfect balance of Bomberman and Pac-Man with a light sprinkling of Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine.
I’ll be honest, when I heard that NinjaBee was developing a maze title for the Xbox One as part of the ID@Xbox program, I was a little disappointed. Their games are typically larger and deeper than anything a simple maze title would call for. Upon release of the game, I was pleasantly surprised to find a fascinatingly deep title with plenty of strategy required to tackle the various levels and difficulties.
Nutjitsu is the story of a lone (adorable) ninja who sets out to recover his clan’s stolen acorns from the evil Kitsune samurai. By making use of items like smoke bombs and other tools, the player can avoid the “evil” foxes and make off with the items on each level. Acorns of various color, bags of loot and more allow players to purchase powerups and items as they progress through the various levels of difficulty.
Learning the patterns and predicting the movement of the enemy Kitsune foxes is key to the player’s survival, as well as making use of the powerups. I was a fan of the smoke bomb, as, more often than not, I like to keep things simple. I found myself progressing through the levels after studying the enemies for a bit. Patience is key with Nutjitsu, but at the same time, you won’t be overwhelmed by the enemies or the ramping difficulty as you progress.
Nutjitsu is a solid little maze title that’s super-enjoyable and cute. NinjaBee has yet to disappoint, but if I’m ranking their titles, I’m putting Nutjitsu at the bottom. Not that it’s a bad game, it’s just not as awe-inspiring as something like last-gen’s Cloning Clyde or Outpost Kaloki X. If you’re a fan of NinjaBee’s work, definitely give this game a go. It’s relatively cheap and can be played while your triple-A shooters (because, you know, Xbox and all that) are loading up.
"Nutjitsu" is on sale May 8, 2014 and is rated E. Puzzle. Developed and published by Ninjabee.