You might be tempted to write this off, but wait! Super House of Dead Ninjas is actually a fun game that you can pop in, play for a bit, and then get sucked into the “one-more-time” that eats away an afternoon. A palette-cleansing experience that doesn’t take itself too seriously, the games’ fast pace pushes past the few flaws that I’ll inevitably point out.
The fun is found in exploring the randomly generated castle (as well as a secret area that requires you to earn tokens), and unlocking new and interesting weapons and items with each attempt. Basically achievements themselves, collecting new gear is the dangling carrot that gets you to try out different gameplay styles. You aren’t limited to the hacking and slashing of your main weapon, either. With the ever powerful magic spells, you wreak havoc on all on-screen enemies.
The controls are solid, and they must have put significant thought into downward attacks – since you’re constantly falling you need to be ready to kill that which lurks below you. An attached gamepad simply works better than the keyboard, though the old standby works well enough in a pinch. From jumping, sliding down walls to swimming and double-jumping, I found myself wasting many an hour looking for the next weapon or item, and enjoying the challenge – and thankfully there are milestone points that you can start from, so you’re not forced to start at the top of the tower each time.
Super House of Dead Ninjas isn’t trying to be anything other than a fun diversion in a market glut with games which are trying to define gaming, and it succeeds on both counts. This indie titles snuck its way into my PC gaming rotation and will likely remain for quite some time. As a pick-up-and-play game with tons of challenges and randomized level design, it’s a fantastic tribute to 8-bit nostalgia supported by solid gameplay. Highly recommended, if that’s your sort of thing.