Clash of Carrots is a fun colourful side-scrolling 2d action title from developer Pocket Trap. The game is described as a beat ‘em up but I feel it has more in common with side-scrolling shooters like r-type, however, rather than pilot a craft and shoot you are controlling a badass Ninja rabbit with wicked melee skills.
The story is pretty basic but fun, some bad guys come along and steal the carrots from your village harvest and you are tasked with getting them back or everyone will starve. There are lots of little cutscenes during fights and after levels that are filled with lots of funny lines, the odd bit of self-aware 4th wall breaking, and a kind of Saturday morning cartoon vibe that I personally found pretty funny.
The humour and bright 2d art style mesh really well together and I feel like I’m playing something that could have quite easily been spun off into a cartoon network type series.
Each level is a wave-based system where different enemies, that you are introduced to you throughout the game, will attack you with different attack patterns and attack styles (melee, range, speed etc). Your character is always running forward and as a result you can only attack what’s in front of you, however, as you would expect there are tricks to getting behind enemies to take them out.
Being a Ninja you also have various tricks up your sleeve to aid you in your attack, namely your range attack and elemental stones that you obtain. When you fill a special attack meter these stones will allow you to unleash a screen-filling attack that will have your combo meter soaring.
The game starts out quite easy and quickly pulls you in, but before long the difficulty starts to ramp up. Early on in the game I hadn’t even noticed there was a stamina meter that depletes every time you swiped the sword or took a dash back but as the game goes on I certainly did, and managing that is possibly the hardest part because if you are swiping away for too long you can find yourself temporarily unable to attack or dash your way out of trouble while you are waiting for it to refill and before you know it you are dead.
The game is pretty tough and along the way you are collecting carrots that you can spend between stages to improve the gear and buffs that you have ranging from new weapon types (long, short, spear etc), new throwing weapons and larger health and stamina bars etc. You are going to have to grind out some carrots and buy these buffs to pass some of the later levels because this is very much an easy to pick up, hard to master type title.
There are options to play in couch co-op or online, so if you are finding it a little tough you can get someone else to jump into your game to give this a shot. During my play time I could not find a match, likely due to the game not being released, so can’t really comment on how the online gaming side of this title performs.
Along with the main story, there is an endless mode that is set up as a tv show, the show is called Oni TV and is actually a very good mode to play, this mode strips your character back to the basics from wave 1 and you must try to clear 10 waves at a time. If you reach wave 10 you get a prize that can be used in story mode, this happens every 10 waves. While playing the endless mode you will be temporarily given an upgrade every few waves to help you get to wave 10, this will range from weapons, buffs or range items. The temporary upgrades are random but you do get 3 to choose from, so careful planning will play a big part in how far you go.
The game is also being published on the Nintendo Switch, while playing I did think that it seemed it would be suited to a handheld so I decided to remote play to PS Vita for a while. I have to admit, I enjoyed the game even more on a handheld device.
As each level is basically clear X number of waves it did seem like Ninjin: Clash of Carrots is a game that you may like to play in shorter stop-start bursts to avoid it becoming repetitive, but overall I found it to be a really fun and enjoyable title that fans of side-scrolling shooters or beat ‘em ups will really get a kick out of.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*