[Nintendo Switch] Ninja JaJaMaru: The Lost RPGs Review
Two lost JaJaMaru RPGs finally get a chance to shine8
Ninja JaJaMaru: The Lost RPGs from ININ Games and City Connection brings us two games in the long-running series that are making their western debut. Check our Ninja JaJaMaru: The Lost RPGs review!
Ninja JaJaMaru: The Lost RPGs from ININ Games and City Connection brings us two games in the long-running series that are making their western debut. Last time I got to review Ninja JaJaMaru: The Great Yokai Battle +Hell, the latest game in the franchise, which offers a series of challenges to take on your own or with someone else in co-op as you play from a variety of characters from the series as you unlock more and more of them thanks to the Jalecoins you add to your collection.
Ninja JaJaMaru: The Lost RPGs on Nintendo Switch gives us access to two games that were originally released on the Famicom – that is, the Japanese counterpart to the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The games are 1989’s Ninja JaJaMaru: Ninpouchou – now known as Ninja JajaMaru: The Ninja Skill Book for its North America debut – and 1990’s sequel Ninja JaJaMaru: Gekimaden – Maboroshi no Kinmajou – which is given the name Ninja JajaMaru: The Legend of the Golden Castle.
Ninja JaJaMaru: Ninpouchou was originally considered for an NES release back in the day under the name Taro’s Quest. Those plans were scrapped in favor of Ninja Taro on the Game Boy in 1992. Ninja JajaMaru: The Ninja Skill Book tasks the brave ninja JaJaMaru with investigating a series of peculiar incidents. Monsters have popped up all over the place, and the people of Edo town have been turned into Yokai! To make things even worse, the Book of Shinobi, which holds all of the knowledge of the ninjas, ends up being stolen. Along with Princess Sakura, ninja JajaMaru sets out on a quest to vanquish evil from the land before it’s too late. The game is a full-on old-school JRPG in a vein similar to, say, Dragon Warrior on the NES – the first game in the Dragon Quest series – from 1986.
You’ll move JaJaMaru around with the left analog stick or the D-Pad while exploring an overworld, towns, and dungeons. You can end up in randomly generated battles – as is to be expected from an RPG that is now well over 30 years of age – where you’ll need to defeat enemies before they drain your HP. Defeat as many enemies as possible so that you can gain experience points to level up, thus boosting your stats so that you can take on more powerful enemies as you gain access to special abilities that will use up some of your JP.
There’s a handy rewind function you can activate with the ZL button, which will allow you to fix some of your mistakes. You can also customize your experience by adding some quality-of-life enhancements to this old-school release. You can select to reduce the rate of random encounters by half, double the amount of experience points you receive when defeating enemies, or double how much gold you receive from defeating enemies. Activate all three, and you’ll take on fewer battles while still benefiting from as many experience points and gold as you can get!
You could also go all in and dive into the Cheats menu. As the name suggests, this menu will offer some cheats that can completely break the game if you want to. They include having JaJaMaru and Sakura have unlimited HP at all times, giving them unlimited JP so that they can use Jutsu skills whenever they want to, give the party unlimited gold so that you can buy whatever you please, thus removing the grind for obtaining gold, removing random encounters so that only mandatory battles remain, adding deathtouch, by which a single hit from your characters will defeat an enemy, as well as activating Godlike, by which all of your stats will be set to maximum.
Ninja JaJaMaru: Gekimaden – Maboroshi no Kinmajou (Ninja JajaMaru: The Legend of the Golden Castle) takes a page from The Legend of Zelda book, giving us a top-down action RPG experience. This time around, ninja JaJaMaru must do whatever it takes to rescue Princess Sakura and Tono-Sama. The time has come for the demon of the prophecy to awaken from his long slumber! JaJaMaru will have to defeat many demons and collect as many spirits as possible to be able to unleash powerful abilities that can turn the tide of battle.
The story begins when a wounded samurai stumbles into Ninja Village. There, the samurai tells everyone that the castle has been attacked by strange monsters. His lord and Princess Sakura have been adbucted. This is the start of the prophecy of the Great Demon. When the Hell Monk awakens, the Great Demon’s return won’t be far behind. The samurai hands over a mandala that was his lord’s. He mentions that if you manage to collect all eight spirits that have been sealed across the land, there might still be a chance to summon the power needed to stop the prophecy from coming true.
As was the case for Ninja JaJaMaru: Ninpouchou, you can make some adjustments to Ninja JajaMaru: The Legend of the Golden Castle to customize your experience. Enhancements include unlimited shurikens for ranged attacks, unlimited bombs for making enemies go boom, unlimited oil lamps, have enemies drop twice as much go, and have JaJaMaru immediately learn all special Jutsu abilities so that you can make short work of your opponents.
There’s also a Cheats menu for this one where you can, well, activate some cheats! They mimic those for Ninja JajaMaru: The Ninja Skill Book, so you’ll be able to select having JaJaMaru gain unlimited HP, making him basically indestructible, having unlimited JP so that JaJaMaru can use all Jutsu abilities at all times – a great cheat to combine with the enhancement to unlock all of the special Jutsi abilities – and having unlimited gold so that you can purchase all items without any issues.
Ninja JaJaMaru: The Lost RPGs Connection brings us two games in the long-running series that are making their western debut. With Ninja JajaMaru: The Ninja Skill Book, we’re getting an old-school classic JRPG with an overworld map and turn-based battles that will remind you of the first Dragon Quest game – known then as Dragon Warrior – on the NES. Ninja JajaMaru: The Legend of the Golden Castle does things differently by giving us a top-down game that has more in common with the first game in the beloved The Legend of Zelda series. Ninja JaJaMaru: The Lost RPGs is out on Nintendo Switch with a $12.99 asking price.
This Ninja JaJaMaru: The Lost RPGs review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by ININ Games.