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Review:Ninja Noah’s Zombie Planets

If Toejam and Earl had a baby with ninjas and zombies, then the resulting product would look something like Ninja Noah’s Zombie Planets. I seriously doubt anyone would wish for such a thing though.

Noah is dropped into a world full of zombies by a cloaked figure that resembles death. The only way you can get back home is by traveling through different worlds donning a ninja suit and hoping to stay alive amongst the walking dead. Death makes it even more difficult by planting various walls and doors around the maps that can only be unlocked/moved by keys or switches.

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NNZP is essentially a puzzle/RPG hybrid, though it doesn’t do an amazing job of being either one. The puzzles get as “deep” as you avoiding getting lost in the sometimes difficult-to-navigate maps while searching out a keys and switches. The hardest part of it all is merely navigating the levels, as the graphics are extremely simplistic and multiple areas often look exactly the same. The levels also “wrap-around”, as opposed to there being definite edges of the maps. Fortunately you have a mini-map at your disposal, but you still are likely to get lost even with that. Improving the graphics some or at least offering a variety in the landscape would go a long way in preventing people from getting lost so easily.

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Combat is really shallow, and it would have been great to see more complexity in it. As it stands, you mow through mounds of zombies and occasionally fight “tougher” ones too. The only real difference between the “weaker” and “tougher” enemies is health and damage, so there’s no real strategy involved in taking them out. I think it would have been great to have a few more layers of depth in combat because the current system gets extremely old very fast (especially on hard mode).

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I mentioned Toejam and Earl earlier because the style of the first couple of levels reminded me of it. No, the levels aren’t randomly generated, but still felt Toejam-ish to me. I think that if the author could improve on the still it would be fantastic. Even though I was strangely but nostalgically drawn to the map style, the graphics as a whole are not good in their current form.

You can avoid some zombies as you travel the maps, but most are unavoidable. This would be acceptable if the collision detection was solid, but unfortunately it is not in its current form. The generic OHRRPGCE touch collision of NPCs works just fine for most applications, but not for this type of game in my opinion. I can imagine that this could be tweaked by going with scripted movement and collision instead of the built-in defaults. Something like that would most likely allow for a much more enjoyable experience.

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Let me be honest; I like the ideas behind this game…I mean, who wouldn’t want to play a kid-gone-ninja-via-a-suit-in-his-back-pocket that makes zombies explode with a sword in the Toejam and Earl universe? Okay, maybe not everyone, but I like how everything looks on paper. Unfortunately, the game suffers from too many setbacks in its current form to be considered an enjoyable experience and worth your time. I’ll be the first to admit that I’d be first in line to play a new, polished version at some point though.

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