Nutjitsu Xbox One Review
by Zachary Bridge on May 25, 2014 at 10:00 AM EDT

Nutjitsu Xbox One Review

Nutjitsu

Developer: NinjaBee
Publisher: NinjaBee
Platforms: Xbox One
Release date: May 8, 2014

I enjoy smaller games like Nutsjitsu. Smaller games have a goal, and they don’t complicate things by adding a bunch of extra features that don’t contribute to the focus of the game. Nutjitsu is purely focused on the gameplay. While there isn’t a massive amount of content in Nutsjitsu, the content that does exist is good and has high replayability.

Nutsjitsu Gameplay

Nutjitsu is a more complicated Pac-Man. The player controls a ninja squirrel whose objective is to rescue acorns from Kitsune samurai squirrels without letting any of the samurai catch him. As the player moves the ninja through the map, the ninja leaves a footprint trail that fades after time. If an enemy crosses path with the ninja’s footprints, he chases the path of footprints until he either catches the player or loses track of his target. The player gets a top-down view of the map, much like Pac-Man.

There are five different mission types in Nutjitsu. The map and objective are randomly selected, so each new game is probably going to be different from the previous.

Nutjitsu also has a decent progression system. Players earn experience points after each map, which are used to reach new ranks. Each rank unlocks something new, like more maps or consumables that can be used to get out of sticky situations.

Players also earn acoins after each mission in Nutjitsu, which can be used in the shop to buy power-ups and character enhancements once they’ve been unlocked through the progression system.

Nutjitsu’s Missions

  • Collect acorns: Every type of mission in Nutjitsu has acorns spread across the map. Winning this mission simply requires collecting a number of acorns. The number of items that needs to be collected is highest on this mission type, but the acorns are more plentiful than secret scrolls or magic areas.
  • Collect specific acorn colors: There are a number of different possible acorn colors, and in this mission, only one color will count as progress toward mission completion at a time. The specified acorn color is on a timer, and when the timer runs out, the color changes. There can only be a certain number of acorns on the map at one time. If that cap hasn’t been reached, there will always be one acorn of the specified color on the map, so there’s no waiting around for the right color to spawn or for the specified color to change. The number of acorns required for mission completion is lower than the other two acorn-collecting missions.
  • Collect and deliver acorns: This mission type requires the player to collect acorns and then bring them to a drop point. The player can only carry eight acorns at a time, and mission completion requires collecting more than eight acorns.
  • Collect secret scrolls: To win this objective, the player needs to collect a number of scrolls. There’s only one scroll on the map at a time, and a timer indicates the time remaining until a scroll disappears. There’s still acorns present in this mission type, but they only give extra points (and spawn enemies as the player’s points climb).
  • Lurk in the magic areas: This mission objective is different than the others. Rather than collect items, the player is required to stand in a magic area for a number of seconds. After the player has stood in a magic area for a certain amount of time, the area moves. The area won’t move if the player isn’t standing inside of it.
  • Survival: Separate from the ninja missions, survival is what it sounds like: get as many points as you can by collecting acorns and staying alive as long as possible. The more points you get, the more enemies spawn. The mission doesn’t end until the player gets caught by an enemy.

Each mission type in Nutjitsu has five possible difficulty levels. Higher difficulty levels require collecting more items, but reward more bonus experience points when completed.

Nutsjitsu’s Enemies

  • Hunter: The hunter is about as standard as enemies get. He moves along at a steady pace until he finds the ninja’s tracks. He’s predictable, but that doesn’t make him less dangerous in a tight spot.
  • Trapper: The trapper moves more slowly than the Hunter, but he leaves a poison trail behind him. Stepping in the poison trail makes the ninja move slowly for a few seconds, which is especially deadly if the player is already being chased by another Kitsune.
  • Dasher: The Dasher moves more erratically than the other Kitsune. He dashes forward at a high speed until he hits a turn. He then stops, changes direction (indicated by an arrow over him) and dashes again. When dashing, he moves faster than the player, so getting caught in his path is bad.

Each mission in Nutjitsu starts with a certain number of enemies, and more enemies spawn as the player gets more points, either through working toward the mission objective or collecting acorns.

Nutjitsu’s Power-Ups

  • Smoke bomb: The shadow bomb turns the ninja invisible, removes his tracks and makes any enemy chasing the ninja give up the chase.
  • Ninja speed: The ninja’s speed is greatly enhanced for a decent length of time.
  • Freeze bomb: The freeze bomb freezes every enemy on the map, allowing the ninja to run through them until they break out.
  • Shadow clone: A shadow copy of the ninja is spawned and runs around the map. Any Kitsune who see the shadow clone will chase the clone until it disappears.
  • Flame shield: Touching an enemy with the flame shield activated will eliminate the enemy permanently. Unlike other power-ups, the player can only hold three flame shields in a single game.

All power-ups in Nutjitsu also give 50 experience points every time the player uses them.

Nutjitsu’s Progression System

There’s 25 levels available in Nutjitsu. Reaching a new level always unlocks something. Progression unlocks new maps, new power-ups, new character enhancements and even a higher-value acorn that spawns on the map.

Nutjitsu’s Nine Maps

By gaining experience points, the player eventually unlocks a total of nine maps.

Each map in Nutjitsu is distinct. Most are asymmetrical, though one is completely symmetrical. Some maps allow for multiple routes to a specific point, but some have dangerously long hallways that can easily trap the player.

One of the nine maps available in Nutjitsu

One of the nine maps available in Nutjitsu

What I liked about Nutjitsu:

  • I like smaller games that pick one thing to do well. Nutjitsu is one of those games. The gameplay is fun when played in short bursts, and the missions are short enough that it’s possible to play a few missions and then stop playing.
  • It takes a decent amount of time to reach the top of Nutjitsu’s progression system, but not so much time that it becomes tedious. This is good for achievement hunters like me who max out a game’s achievements and then probably won’t play it again. The achievements aren’t so easy that the game can be beaten in a couple of hours and then forgotten.
  • Nutjitsu’s map art is varied and appealing.
  • Nutjitsu’s music fits the game well and didn’t get on my nerves after playing the game for a few hours in a row.
  • I’m not a fan of leaderboards, but they don’t damage my gaming experience (unless there’s an achievement linked to them). I can see how Nutjitsu’s leaderboards would be fun with a group of friends who play the game because you can compare your progress to them. Players can compare their high scores and the number of times they’ve beaten a map on each difficulty level.

What I didn’t like about Nutjitsu:

  • When the Kitsune lose track of the ninja, they make a pretty annoying noise, but it’s bearable. When the player completes a mission, all of the Kitsune on the map make that noise simultaneously, and it’s quite loud.
  • It’s difficult to use the more expensive power-ups because of the amount of acoins the player gets from a single mission. I found myself using only the Shadow Bomb for most of the game because it’s effective enough to get out of any situation.
  • Playing the game on the higher difficulties isn’t worthwhile for players who are playing with the goal of unlocking all of Nutjitsu’s achievements. Clearing maps quickly on the first or second difficulty seemed to net more experience points over time than clearing a harder difficulty. The game gets exponentially harder as more and more enemies appear on the map simultaneously, but the bonus experience points from higher difficulties don’t scale well enough to be worth it. Maybe the higher difficulties are appealing to people who care about the leaderboard, but I’m not one of those people.

The Verdict

I had a good time with Nutjitsu. It only has one type of gameplay, but the gameplay is done well. All of my problems with the game were minor annoyances that didn’t diminish my experience by much. GamerFitnation gives Nutjitsu a 7/10.

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