Developed By: Wonderboy Bobi
Published By: No Gravity Games (Digital) Pixelheart (Physical)
Categories: Platformer, Retro
Release Date: 12.10.20

NES Nostalgia this, Genesis Nostalgia that. Where’s the Master System nostalgia? Well, with Tanuki Justice, it’s here.

I’ve seen comparisons to late 80’s/early 90’s ninja games like Ninja Gaiden and Shinobi, but I do think as a whole the comparisons are rather dubious. Though, if I was pushed, I’d say it’s like a cuter, smaller, faster Shinobi, starring animals. It’s style in the vein of an arcade game, or more accurately a console port of an older arcade game, given a makeover to fit more at home on the weaker hardware.

Would it be more accurate to call Tanuki Justice a run and gun? Your attack is your shuriken, which can be aimed and shot in eight directions, on land, in air. You can lock movement just to aim, or lock aiming to strafe. Shooting at the other fighting animals in your way, or treasure boxes. The former raises a bar in order to summon a giant shuriken that does massive damage. The latter is mostly for extra points. However, occasionally you’ll get shields for an extra hit, a stronger, bigger shuriken, or even just extra lives. The game has those one hit deaths that older games were full of, but it never feels that punishing, especially since a death just revives you on the spot, no stage restarts. Stages all end with a boss, who have a decent life bar, but are all pattern based and aren’t too difficult, however the Stage 4 boss had this desperation move that I had no idea how to dodge. Completing a stage means you can start from it at any time, even after a game over. Even better yet, the whole game can be played with a friend in cooperative multiplayer. Spread the difficulty.

On the whole, aesthetics wise, it’s like a Sega Master System game in the modern day. The clarify, the Master System was the 8bit competetor to the NES, except it was stronger, had better colors, had FM Synth, and you had to go to the console itself to pause. You’d get some great looking and sounding games that blur the line between 8 and 16bit. Outside of how the game is with looks and sounds, Tanuki Justice seems to emulate the whole feel of those games from menus and cutscenes as well. It’s refreshing to see nostalgia for something not the NES.

It’s a good feeling to play retro games that actually fit the bill instead of having a superficial understanding of the era. A lot of people find the style of arcade games, with lives, linear stage progression, and at times high difficulty archaic, but I for one love a blast from the past. If there’s any sort of nostalgia for these kinds of games, you owe it to yourself to play this game.

4/5

Buy Now: $14.99 Digital – $34.99 Physical

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*Game Download Code supplied for review purposes