Tanuki Justice (Switch)

Tanuki are actual real life animals that look like raccoons but they are more closely related to the dog family.  Sometimes they’re even called ‘raccoon dogs.’  They live in forests in Japan and other Asian countries, and these animals play a big part in Japanese myths and folklore.  They’ve even seeped their way into video games, too!  In some Mario games, there is a power-up called the ”Tanooki Suit.”  And you know Tom Nook from Animal Crossing?  Yep, also a tanuki.  And now you can play as a tanuki ninja in Tanuki Justice, a Switch side scrolling platform action game that imitates classic arcade and console games from the mid-80s.  It really reminds me of Kid Niki: Radical Ninja if any of you are old enough to remember that one.

Your tanuki ninja will save the day by running, double jumping, and throwing ninja stars.  You can toss the stars in all directions, and can even hold down a button to stay still and throw stars all over.  Avoid and defeat all manner of enemies, mid-bosses, and end-level baddies, but if you get hit once, you die.  Lose all your lives and it’s Game Over.  Open boxes to get power-ups like larger ninja stars, extra lives, and purple crystals.  Gather enough of these purple crystals and a meter will fill.  When it’s full, you can throw a special giant ninja star to help you defeat enemies in a pinch.

The graphics really look like it could’ve been a game during the heyday of the genre, and reminds me of late 8-bit or early 16-bit titles.  Even the music sounds like it’s coming from an arcade sound board!  Only problem is the game is just too darn hard.  It’s one hit and you die, and that gets pretty tough early on when you have to fight a twin boss and keep track of everything they throw at you!  You can have a second player join in for some co-op action, which should make the game easier.  But when you lose all your lives, you must start the level over again from the beginning.  Checkpoints, an easier difficulty selection, or maybe an energy meter would’ve made this game more playable for me.

Kid Factor:

Tanuki Justice is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Fantasy Violence.  You throw ninja stars at cartoony pixelly enemies who just explode when defeated.  I grew up playing games like this and I turned out OK.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, and younger gamers may find it too difficult.

One Response to “Tanuki Justice (Switch)”

  1. Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe Tanuki exist in real life, outside of video games… 🙂

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