Kunai Preview – A Not So Typical Metroidvania

Metroidvanias are a dime a dozen, these days. That said, over the past couple of years, I’ve found myself spotting at least a handful of metroidvanias that I want to check out and play. This was the case at PAX West 2019 when I stumbled upon Kunai, a side-scrolling ninja metroidvania from developer TurtleBlaze and publisher The Arcade Crew. Just from the build of the game I played, I can already tell that Kunai is worth keeping an eye on.

Kunai will have players take on the role of an unusually adorable yet fierce tablet named Tabby. Sounds odd already, right? Well, there’s more: Tabby happens to be infused with an ancient warrior’s soul — so clearly, this isn’t going to be a tablet that you’re grandma would be asking for your help with. Unfortunately for our tablet friend, Tabby one day is resuscitated and rebooted during an AI robot futuristic war that has gone terribly wrong. After finding out that humanity on the brink of extinction thanks to a famed inventor’s botched AI creation, as Tabby, I then began my adventure to slice and dice evil robots to save humanity.

At the start, all I had was a trusty and quick katana, which definitely came in handy when it came time to slice through enemies — but shortly after, I acquired, oddly enough, kunai. When you think of kunai, you probably think of them as projectile weapons; however, the kunai in Kunai are actually used to pull off awesome ninja parkour tricks. During my time with the game, I was used my kunai to quickly dash up walls, discover hidden passages, and pull off sweet mid-air attacks. Basically, I felt like a kickass ninja, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

Kunai 1

Combat itself was quick to get used to and didn’t prove to be much of a challenge. However, given that I started playing right at the beginning of the game, chances are that enemies aren’t going to go down without a fight as players progress through Tabby’s adventure. That said, combat was satisfying yet straightforward, and pulling of chain attacks was pretty awesome.

But I can’t forget to mention Kunai‘s art style. It’s quite a sight for sore eyes, with it’s colorful and minimalistic palette that drew me into the game’s world.  And of course, I loved how Tabby would make all sorts of cute faces, like his really aggressive face he would make as he slashed through an enemy into scrap metal.

Kunai 2

Without a doubt, Kunai is looking like it’ll be something special in the crowded metroidvania market. With its not-so-typical-metroidvania main protagonist, swift ninja parkour mechanics, and stylish art style, fans of metroidvania should probably consider adding Kunai to their must-play list. For me, I’m excited to be reunited with Tabby again and be the most kickass ninja I can be.

Kunai is currently being developed for PC-via Steam and Nintendo Switch. No release date has been announced just yet, but feel free to wishlist the game on Steam.

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Brad Crespo

Editor-in-Chief - On a quest to play as many new games as possible while trying to finish an endless backlog.