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access_time December 17, 2020 at 6:00 AM in Reviews by Kristin Mitra

Review | Tanuki Justice

Wonderboy Bobi’s Tanuki Justice is an homage to the classic sidescrollers from years ago. Players will take control of a tanuki and take on dozens of feudal Japan-era enemies in this quick-paced adventure. To excel, players need to think fast, and act with absolute precision. Time is crucial, and it can also be your worst enemy.

Upon first glance, Tanuki Justice looks and sounds like it came out of the early era of gaming. Of course, that’s definitely not a bad thing. The addictive button mashing adrenaline felt from games like Super Mario and Street Fighter finds a new home in Tanuki Justice. Controls are simple, and easy to remember as your progress. As you jump from platform to platform while dodging attacks, smashing chests and collecting gems, you’ll have less than a second to make your next move.

Tanuki Justice’s aesthetics are reminiscent of arcade classics. The pixelated art combined with rhythmic background music is enough to trick you with a sense of nostalgia. It feels like an old classic, but it isn’t one. Attacks are straightforward and simple as you aim with the left joystick and tap Y to fire. When you gather enough magic in your meter, you can unleash an ultimate attack, wiping out multiple enemies in one shot. However, while your enemies can sustain multiple basic attacks from you, you’re left vulnerable, dying at a single touch. When you lose three of your tanuki lives, it’s game over.

This game is hard – accuracy and precision are not taken lightly and one wrong move can cost you the level. Still, that’s not what takes away from what would have been a perfect score. While gameplay is awesome, the environments and music immaculate, and the button-mashing adrenaline stops you from putting down your Switch, the tutorial served very little purpose in teaching players any game mechanics before they jumped into the game.

After the intro to the game, players can choose the tutorial before they jump into any level. In most other games, the tutorial walks you through game mechanics, allowing you to practice the basics before progressing to using a new skill. However, the tutorial for Tanuki Justice is just a simple animation that shows you what to do. The game doesn’t let the player practice until they’re actually in the first stage. For newer gamers who aren’t sure what they’re getting themselves into, this feature can be unfriendly. Players will likely be left shocked and jarred because there’s no room for error when you’re learning the mechanics.

Tanuki Justice also offers a two player mode. While the “story” of the game doesn’t change, players can opt to have a friend join them for some intense couch co-op. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make the game any easier, but it’s still a fun challenge.

Overall, Tanuki Justice has been one of the most fun sidescrolling run & guns I’ve endured. Paired with a colorful pixel background and rhythmic synth music, on top of exciting gameplay, the false nostalgia brings me back to when I first started playing video games.

Final Score: 9 out of 10 Ninja Stars

GotGame is on OpenCritic, check out our reviews here.

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