Ninja JaJaMaru – The Great Yokai Battle +Hell Deluxe Edition review (PS4)

If you fondly remember the Ninja JaJaMaru franchise, then ININ just released a trio of releases just for you. Ninja JaJaMaru: The Lost RPGs contains two RPG spinoffs, whereas Ninja JaJaMaru: The Retro Collection has five classic side-scrollers. Grab Ninja JaJaMaru: The Great Yokai Battle +Hell Deluxe Edition, and you’re getting both the Retro Collection and The Great Yokai Battle – a tribute game that recently came out.

The Ninja JaJaMaru games can be considered as cult classics, hailing from the earliest days of the NES (or rather the Famicom, as it was known in Japan). The quality of NES titles differed greatly throughout its lifecycle, and if you remember Zelda and Mario 3 then you probably have too favorable a view of the games available for it. Ninja JaJaMaru-Kun was one of the earlier games in the console’s lifecycle, and ININ’s now brought several of the sequels and spinoffs together for modern audiences.


Besides the original Ninja JaJaMaru-Kun, you also get Ninja JaJaMaru’s Big Adventure, The Great World Adventure, Operation Milky Way and Super Ninja-kid in the retro collection. In the RPG collection, you get Ninja JajaMaru: The Ninja Skill Book and Ninja JajaMaru: The Legend of the Golden Castle – two very basic NES-style RPGs that should have been included as part of a bigger collection rather than sold separately. As part of a bundle they would have been two nice curiosities to check out, but on their own merit they’ll struggle to find an audience outside of die hard collectors.

The five games in the retro collection fare a little better, with mostly accessible 2D side-scrolling gameplay and a nice sense of progression throughout the series. Where the original games have a definite “early NES” feel to them, Operation Milky Way and Super Ninja-kid both offer definite improvements. Perhaps not enough for them to have stood out during their original runs (in fact, some elements look and act very rough), but it’s nice to have the series together here and see how things evolved over time.


The most recent addition is Ninja JaJaMaru: The Great Yokai Battle +Hell, which came out about thirty years later but mostly sticks to the visual style of the originals. There’s just a bit more polish to the game, with way fewer rough edges to worry about. In a way it’s a shame they didn’t go for a completely modern look and feel like they did with Wonder Boy, but there’s something to be said for the charm of the classic NES look too.

This new re-release of these Ninja JaJaMaru games is one for the retro collectors or those with nostalgia for the originals. ININ’s released better quality games in previous collections (like Wonder Boy or Turrican) that have aged better then these games, but it’s nice to at least have access to them again.

Score: 6.5/10

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