As yet another long-awaited sequel to an obscure Neo Geo arcade game, Ganryu 2 will blow you away with its tough-as-nails ninja action.
A short while ago, I played and reviewed Andro Dunos 2 which is a follow-up to an arcade game from the '90s and Ganryu 2 is the exact same idea. In fact, both original games were developed by Visco Corporation and their new sequels are published by Just For Games and Pixelheart. Considering these are both high quality releases, I can't wait to see what else they bring back! Anyway, Ganryu originally released in 1999 and just like the first Andro Dunos game, it wasn't anything particularly special. However, this new game is fantastic! v1d30chumz 3-235-176-80
Before I get to the gameplay, allow me to describe Ganryu 2's structure because that alone will dictate whether or not you'll enjoy playing it. For starters, this is an incredibly tough game and its main appeal relies on your ability to play its lengthy stages over and over again until you master them. If you're not willing to do that then you'll likely find it to be a frustrating experience. This is especially true when you run out of lives as instead of respawning at the previous checkpoint, you'll have to start all over again. This aspect makes it feel like one of those awesome action games that you'd rent for Super NES back in the day only to barely make it to level 3 before returning it. Meanwhile, you invite a friend over who's been playing it for weeks then watch them beat the whole thing in one sitting. 😅
If you relish repeatedly playing long stages while memorizing enemy formations, hazard placements, and boss patterns then you'll certainly love the action that's packed into Ganryu 2. The core gameplay has you move left and right while jumping, dashing, and unleashing melee attacks as well as throwing kunai. On top of that, a meter will gradually fill that you can use to deploy a Kami spell which either heals you or damages your opponents. After playing for a short while, I realised that the best way to play is by running through levels as you slash everything in sight only to stop to take out large enemies or wall-jump to a higher plane. When you proceed slowly, you'll actually end up taking more damage so the fact that you're pushed into fast-paced action makes it an absolute thrill to master. 😄
Not only is Ganryu 2 exciting to play, it's also a treat to watch. Whereas many ninja games can be drab, there's a lot of colour on display here which makes the character sprites really pop, especially with their smooth animations. Plus, watching things explode as you tear through environments is satisfying stuff with the sound effects adding a great deal of gratification to the onscreen action. Finally, the soundtrack is an energetic blend of traditional Japanese vibes and modern funky rhythms which complements the gameplay perfectly.
As you play through Ganryu 2, you'll discover many secrets whenever you travel off the beaten path. Some of these secrets grant you super-helpful items such as raising your maximum health while others are collectible Hanafuda cards. Needless to say, memorizing where these treasures lie as you incorporate them into your strategies makes mastering each of the 5 stages even more rewarding. 🏆
With that being said, I kind of wish that Ganryu 2 featured even more bonus content because its tough albeit brief campaign is all you really get. There are limited options, too, and you can't even rebind the controls. Needless to say, extra modes and configurable settings would have went a long way to help flesh things out; perhaps even a casual mode for folks who aren't good at these games. 🥴
Ganryu 2 is incredibly difficult but it presents the ideal blend of challenge and satisfying action so you'll keep coming back after getting your ass kicked over and over again. With loads of secrets and a pitch-perfect presentation, this is one swanky old-school ninja game.
- + Incredibly challenging, satisfying, and lightning-fast 2D ninja action
- + Awesome graphics, music, and effects
- + Lots of fun secrets throughout
- - Brutal difficulty and repetitive structure will turn off less patient gamers
- - Could use additional modes and settings