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SEGA AGES Shinobi (Switch) Review

by Bryan Rose - January 23, 2020, 12:38 pm EST
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When is being a ninja not cool?

The very first Shinobi, released in 1987, is the latest classic Sega arcade classic to receive an Ages retouch thanks to the development team at M2. Here you’ll find a solid platformer that is very tough, even with new additions that make it easier to clear. It’s a short experience, but Shinobi remains a sharp, competent platformer that’s worth playing.

Shinobi has you, a ninja warrior named Joe Musashi, complete five different missions. Each mission has four stages, with a boss fight that takes place in the fourth stage. The main goal of each non-boss fight stage is to rescue all the hostages the cruel criminal organization kidnapped from Musashi’s ninja clan.

There are a lot of enemies, and as the game progresses it can get a little tough clearing them all. This Ages release touts a new ninjutsu technique that lets you reverse time -- in other words, a rewind feature. This allows you to rewind and avoid any real mistakes made during gameplay.

Another mode, called Ages Mode, gives you a white outfit and weapons right from the very start that allow you to clear the game without any problems. Think of the SP versions of the Nintendo Switch Online NES games. Shinobi can be a pretty tough game, but these new features relieve any major headaches that may develop.

Once you clear Shinobi, there isn’t really much to do. There’s no multiplayer, and there are no other additions besides the Ages mode. The whole experience can be finished in about an hour. Kind of makes me wish they added more, like maybe include the console versions of Shinobi for example. There is a leaderboard at least, and your playthrough gets automatically uploaded each time you play.

I liked Shinobi a lot, even though the experience was very quick. The controls felt good and tight, there were some clever enemies (especially towards the end) and the entire concept of being a ninja is a real cool idea. Shinobi is a fleeting experience, but not one that I don’t regret having.


  • New additions makes the game more accessible
  • Solid platforming
  • Not much replay value
  • Relatively short

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Game Profile

Genre Action
Developer M2

Worldwide Releases

na: Shinobi
Release Jan 23, 2020
RatingEveryone 10+
jpn: Shinobi
Release Oct 31, 2019

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