NInja or Die was provided by Marvelous Europe for review. Thank you!
Ninja or Die: Shadow of the Sun is a fast-paced action roguelite inspired by Japanese folklore. Set in the afternath of a cataclysmic event, you are a common pickpocket that was transformed into a ninja with lightning-fast reflexes and mobility. Now you are stuck within a loop of chaos where you must leap from wall to wall, killing enemies, all while getting new gear, and leveling up to make it through.
For me, Ninja or Die is a fantastic blend of arcade-style action, RPG progression, and roguelike passive improvements to make an addicting, enjoyable experience. I found it so enjoyable and rewarding to chain together jumps and make it through the various different levels while destroying all the enemies there. And with the loot I would find, I would need to manage which items to keep, which souls to equip, and which items to throw away so I could find a balance of healing items, upgrades, and scrolls.
The game is also wonderfully replayable. Not only are there multiple characters and levels, but you will also be able to build up your village and upgrade your character further. Then, you can take on procedurally generated levels, the Infinite Watchtower or Corridor, or replay the game with challenges like the stage randomizer. There is so much you can do, so much content to enjoy, it is hard to stop.
I also love the visual style of the game. Not only is it unique with its Japanese inspirations, but it is also flashy and vibrant. From how the world is colored to the flashes of numbers when you damage a foe to the way your entire screen changes when charging up a jump, the beautiful blending of color and style captivate and make it hard for me to take my eyes off. I love the game and I love being able to play it so easily on-the-go with the Steam Deck.
Due to the way the game is styled, I didn't expect it to need many changes to run optimally and I am happy to say I was correct. Without any changes, Ninja or Die: Shadow of the Sun is able to hit 60 FPS with a low battery drain of 6W - 8W. I didn't expect this to be any different due to how the game looks and how little power the game demands, but it does have two flaws.
The first is that the game has full controller support, but Steam Input defaults to Keyboard + Mouse controls. This can be easily fixed by going to your controller preset and switching/applying the Gamepad with Joystick Trackpad scheme.
Second, it appears the game has a bottleneck where, in some very heavy scenes, the game's framerate will dip to 45 - 50. Without the overlay, this wasn't noticeable, but during these moments, there would be a slight slowdown and a battery drain spike to 10W - 11W. This only happened a couple times to me, but it was enough to take notice.
While the game doesn't support 16:10 resolutions, it does have full controller support (just need to swap over the control scheme) and cloud saves!
Ninja or Die: Shadow of the Sun is a game I did not expect to take up as much of my time as it did. It is a fast-paced roguelite with RPG elements that keeps you moving and constantly thinking about the best way to jump and navigate while taking down enemies in flashy brilliance. The game is so pleasing to just look at that I had to stop a few times just to take in the colors. On top of that, the game runs really well on the Steam Deck, even with a couple of areas that are bottlenecked. As long as you have the overlay off, you won't really notice this at all and fully enjoy the game on-the-go.
Our review is based on the PC version of this game.
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Ninja or Die: Shadow of the Sun is a wonderful blend of flashy visuals and an addicting gameplay loop that plays greta on the Steam Deck.