While drawing inspiration from Pac-Man, Nutjitsu doesn't quite live up to the classic. Gamers won't be playing it for more than a couple of hours. However, it is still a fun little game for the short while that it lasts.
Nutjitsu is played by controlling a squirrel who navigates 2-dimensional mazes in order to collect nuts and avoid various foxes. It's very simple and fun to play as the controls only involve moving around and using power-ups. Foxes will try to hunt you down and it's game over when one touches you. There are three variations of foxes which include hunter foxes who simply walk around steadily and predictably, trapper foxes who leave a trail of poison that slows down your squirrel upon contact, and dasher foxes who quickly dash in straight lines with a short pause in between. The foxes all seem to be blind as bats as you can stand right in front of one and he won't see you. However, as you walk around you will leave a trail that the foxes will sense and then proceed to stalk you. This dynamic forces players to constantly be on their toes in order to survive as long as possible and not get caught by those dastardly foxes.
The stages look quite detailed and each one is different. All of the stages appear to be during night-time with their dim lighting and glowing lamps and torches scattered around. This adds to the sneaky atmosphere of the game. It may be hard to clearly distinguish paths in certain stages with objects sometimes obscuring the view, but this is eventually remedied as the player learns each stage's layout. This being said, nuts and enemies are easy to spot. Music in Nutjitsu consists solely of one song that endlessly loops and becomes repetitive quite quickly. Luckily, players can mute it. Sound effects are generic but do a nice job of notifying the player of necessary events.
There are two ways to play Nutjitsu which are survival and ninja missions. Survival is where you select a stage and try to survive as long as possible while collecting as many nuts as you can in order to score big. Ninja missions randomly couple a stage with a mission. Players can push a shuffle button for a new random pairing if they're unsatisfied with what they're given. Missions include collecting a certain number of nuts, collecting specifically coloured nuts, storing nuts, collecting scrolls, and lurking in a coloured area for a specific amount of time. These variations add some replay value although they all tend to feel very similar. Considering these missions are random, there is almost no sense of progress except for levelling up and making purchases.
Players level up by getting experience points while playing the game. Extra experience points will be earned upon completing missions and more will be rewarded on higher difficulty settings. Features unlock as the player levels up which include more stages, more purchasable power-ups, and being able to equip more power-ups. Money is earned by collecting nuts with each colour being worth a different amount. Money can be spent on power-ups and upgrades allowing for more power-up slots and more of each type to be equipped at once. Power-ups include being able to become undetectable and slip past enemies, sprint quickly, freeze all enemies, unleash a dummy for your enemies to follow, and put up a shield to protect you once. Some are more useful than others but it's still rewarding to equip a lot at once and become a force to be reckoned with. Using power-ups sparingly will allow skillful players the ability to last a long time and score big. There are leaderboards to climb for almost every conceivable metric. This is a nice addition as it adds some replay value for gamers who like to climb leaderboards.
With only a couple of modes and not much replay incentive, Nutjitsu is a tough game to recommend. It features some solid arcade fun and is an interesting take on a classic, but it's not much more than that.
- + Solid arcade fun with tight controls
- + Level-up and power-up systems reward skillful and conservative players
- + Stages look detailed and unique
- - Not much content or replayability
- - Paths in stages can sometimes be unclear
- - Music consists of one looping song that quickly gets repetitive