Out now across all consoles and PC is Within the Blade. This retro-style action RPG follows a shinobi as they face off against the forces of a demonic kingdom in ancient Japan.
Within the Blade opens with a pixelated cinematic that lays the foundations of the story. There is a warlord who is using demonic forces to conquer Japan. You are part of a shinobi village that is trying to halt his invasion.
Within the Blade – Everything a shinobi can do
In Within the Blade, the player has to traverse five chapters, within each chapter are five levels. In each level, you have one major task and several optional tasks. Depending on how often you are seen, what specific tools you use to kill your enemies and how many times you die defines how well you are scored in each level. It reminded me of Tenchu: Stealth Assassins.
Within each chapter are two bosses and to me, these are the highlights of the game. They are well designed, the score for each boss fight is eccentric and fun. In my opinion, the best part was trying to figure out how to defeat them. They all have distinct patterns and figuring out what worked best against them was brilliant. If there was an issue I think the game’s difficulty was all over the place with certain bosses.
A crimson oni boss felt impossible due to the particular moveset he utilised and it felt like luck when I finally defeated him. However, when I faced off against this ronin boss who looked like an absolute badass I defeated him during my first attempt. I think the issue here came from certain items allowing me to spam him to death.
Tools of the trade
Speaking of the items, Within the Blade has a treasure trove of shinobi. You can either buy or forge these items yourself. You can buy the scrolls so you can forge weaponry, potions etc. and there are dozens of items to unlock and use. Not only that after every mission you are allowed to go back to the village and train, using any points you’ve earned to give the shinobi new abilities.
You won’t unlock all the abilities in one playthrough though so if you’re a completionist you will have to play twice. The wheel of shinobi moves that you can unlock is impressive. You can unlock moves that allow you to move faster and quieter, throw more shurikens as well as unlock further combos for your taijutsu and kenjutsu.
In the end, you will have your own ninja way
Within the Blade is a fun game. It’s not perfect. The story is quite vanilla sadly. It is saved by fast-paced action though and a charm that reminded me of the iconic The Revenge of the Shinobi from the Sega Megadrive. From the charming level designs that see you jump from opponent to opponent as you dispense your shinobi justice to the over the top boss battles Within the Blade is a lot of fun. Not only that at €10.99 I would highly recommend this game. Especially if you’re a fan of old school shinobi shenanigans.