Ratalaika Games is known for porting games from PC to consoles. Their latest console title is Within the Blade.
This is a 2D action stealth game in the mold of Katana Zero that stylistically looks somewhat similar to Broforce. Fans of classics like Shinobi will likely appreciate what the developers at Ametist Studio are going for here.
Within the Blade has you play as a ninja. Mamoru Imai summons demons to join his army, but darkness takes over his body and demons wreak havoc throughout Japan. The player starts in the village Black Lotus where your sensei sends you on your mission to defeat the demon army.
You have a basic attack, a block, jump, double jump, and a wall run to aid you in completing the game’s 25 levels spread across five acts. You can also unlock combos, health upgrades, the ability to stealthily assassinate enemies, and the like.
Since this is a 2D retro-style game, it employs a health bar. Checkpoints will save your progress mid-level if you’re playing on normal. So if you run out of health and die, you’ll just restart at the nearest checkpoint. There’s also a permadeath mode that lacks checkpoints.
The game has a set of levels that then are capped with a boss fight. Enemies can drop loot. You’ll also find coins scattered throughout the game. Between levels, you can return to your village to craft weapons. I found the boss fights to be the most interesting aspect of the game.
Not for kids
Within the Blade is fairly violent for a 2D action game. Your character will sometimes decapitate enemies, sever limbs, and generally slaughter anyone who comes in your way. Needless to say, this game is not intended for young’ns. So if you’re a parent, use your best judgment based on the screenshots and gameplay video (see below).
Don’t break your sword
One of the game’s biggest annoyances is that it is possible to break your sword. If this happens, you’ll have to rely on your fists or your secondary weapons. Honestly, this is one of the most frustrating parts of the game. Just let me keep my sword, please! It’s not any fun running around punching bad guys.
Within the Blade is a decent 2D action-stealth game. If you’re a fan of ninjas and NES-style graphics, you may want to check it out when it’s on sale.