This is one of my favorite types of games. Fast paced platform jumping, sword swinging, and shuriken throwin’ action!

Shadow Blade developed by Dead Mage (There other games look pretty cool too I think) was initially released as a mobile game in 2014 and then to the PS4 as Shadow Blade: Reload in 2016. I’ll be talking about the PS4 version as that’s the only one I’ve played so far.

I don’t like talking about story very much for certain games and this is one of them. Someone is invading your village and well I’ll just let Dead Mage tell you all about it “Kuro is a young man on his quest to become the Shadow Blade. He must seek the teachings of the last remaining ninja master. You will guide him through challenging levels, around countless traps, sneaking past enemies or right over their dead bodies. You have to be fast, be stealthy and, be aware of your environment. You have to be a ninja.” So there it is you have to be a Ninja and boy howdy does this game deliver. The story is pretty cool and it’s flushed out nicely with a series of motion comics between chapters. They are well illustrated and I think would make a decent standalone comic themselves. The gameplay is where it’s at though.



If you enjoy games like Guacamelee, Rayman Legends, Super Meat Boy  or heck even Batman and Ninja Gaiden on the NES then you’ll feel right at home playing this game. It has all the best tools in the platforming kit. You have wall jumping, wall sliding, wall running, air and ground dashing, double jumping, and you can execute it all fluidly. With a little practice playing through the levels almost becomes rhythmic experience especially with the little floating yellow orbs that let out a tone when you run into them. It makes the platforming just that much more fun. There’s also a host of different obstacles blocking your path that kill you instantly on contact forcing you to get good at platforming. In fact all the enemies kills you instantly on contact. Which is ok because this game is about speed and action. Plus there are ample checkpoints that never put you too far behind or leave you frustrated having to replay the whole level again and again. Though some people like that : / lol


 

There are also a slew of different enemies in the game. There’s a good mix of ranged and melee enemies and they are great for the dynamic of the platforming. One of my favorite ones is a sticky grenade launching one. He shoots a flashing red grenade that sticks to you, but if you’re fast you can use the dash to shake it off and even use to kill other enemies. Some enemies you can only defeat in a specific way such as striking them from above. A lot of the time you don’t even have to fight the enemies and it’s easier and faster just to run past them. You are a sneaky ninja after all, but I can’t help but clear all them out though. The attacks in the game are a little simple though and there isn’t much to it like special input moves or anything beyond pressing square and maybe square and down. That’s ok though because it’s not about the battle mostly as it is the platforming. I feel like the enemies are just an extension of the platforming so there really isn’t a need for a deep combat system.

 

Shadow Blade: Reload is also a very pretty game. I just loved all the background art in the game. It has a great silhouette look going on at times too and although the backgrounds when you take a moment to appreciate them are awesome they aren’t distracting from the action of the game. I especially liked the ones in the Jade City and the Mountain level. I personally don’t like how small the characters are in the game, but I understand why because of the type of game it is. I just think it be cool to see Kuro and the action closer up. Aside from the tones the yellow orbs make I do feel that the music in the game wasn’t the best ever. It’s not bad, but there were just time I felt it should be more upbeat to get you pumped up.


 

Overall Shadow Blade: Reload is a fantastic game! I would highly recommend checking it out if you are a fan of platforming games. Heck even if you’re not maybe this will change your mind about them. It just has that great mix of fun/ difficulty that makes you want to keep playing. It also has multiple difficulty levels if you want to increase your challenge. One thing the Reload has that the initial release didn’t is a level editor. I haven’t used it yet, but I’m looking forward to giving it a try and crafting some diabolic levels only a true Ninja could overcome. Not anything to do with the game, but it really made me wish for a Batman game that played just like this. Sort of an update on the old NES one! You can pick this up for about $15 bucks normally on the PS4 which I think isn’t a bad deal. Right now, however, they have it going for $4.99 which I think is a great deal for this game. I’ve for sure have gotten my five bucks worth from it. So sharpen your katana and stretch those thumbs and go Ninja, go Ninja, go!