The early ’90s saw a whole slew of anthropomorphic cartoon heroes filling our TV screens.
If you were a pre-teen kid at that time, you were probably a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Biker Mice From Mars, the Samurai Pizza Cats, or the Street Sharks.
Okay, no one really liked the Street Sharks.
The heroes of Ninja Hero Cats seem to have been designed by people who remember those programs, but the game itself isn’t as vibrant as you might have hoped.Karate cat
You take control of a crew of five ninja cats. You could say that they’re heroic, if your idea of heroism entails running around nondescript levels, lobbing an unlimited supply of shuriken at assorted creatures.
All you really need to worry about is guiding these mogs around the screen using a virtual analogue stick. Shooting is handled automatically, just as soon as the cats are within range of their targets.
Get in extra close and the cats will initiate melee attacks - powerful, but risky. You also get an additional rapidly recharging special that can be manually activated.
The lack of shooting control makes Ninja Hero Cats feel a bit like a declawed twin-stick shooter. It’s all very fluid, and there’s still a reasonable amount of strategy to positioning your cats according to the threat at hand. But it lacks that vital visceral thrill.Scratch that
The game’s approach to funding is also problematic. After three or four levels you’ll start to hit a bit of a wall in terms of the number (and potency) of enemies on screen versus your increasingly ineffectual crew.
This is when the meagre number of pearls dished out to power-up your cats starts to feel insufficient, prompting you to splash the real cash.
But that’s not the really annoying bit. The annoying bit is the huge banner ads that take up a sizeable chunk of the screen at the top. Intrusive just isn’t the word.
On the scale of cool mutant creature cartoons, then, Ninja Hero Cats isn’t quite down at Street Sharks level, but nor is it kicking it with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It’s somewhere in the middle, with all those other middling creations you’ve forgotten ever existed.