Nakama ($0.99) by Crescent Moon Games is a gorgeous pixelated beat-em-up adventure that will keep you entertained for hours at a time. If you’re a fan of side-scrolling games that involve a lot of slashing around, then this is the perfect combination.
I’m a fan of Crescent Moon Games, as they have brought us fantastic hits in the past with titles like Pocket RPG and Aralon: Sword and Shadow HD. So when I heard that they were coming out with Nakama, and I watched the trailer video for it, needless to say I was pretty excited. And I’m glad to say that this is definitely a game that you need to pick up for the weekend.
I’m in love with the beautifully well-done 8-bit rendition of Japan. If you’re a fan of retro visuals, then this game will be serving up exactly what you love. The environments, while pixelated, are still incredibly rich in detail, colors, and the animations are incredibly smooth and fluid on my iPhone 5s. What’s even more amazing is the fact that all of the graphics in the game were actually created on the iPad with Pixel Dude. I’m also rather enamored with the soundtrack, as it’s all chiptunes — when do chiptunes ever get old?
In Nakama, there are two modes: Story and Ghost Forest. As you would imagine, the Story will feature levels that bring in various waves of enemies of increasing difficulty. The goal in this mode is to defeat the enemies and then face off with a boss fight in order to save your friends, who will join your side in the next area. Ghost Forest is more of a survival mode, where you will find evil ghosts who are stronger than your average ninja enemy.
The controls in the game are laid out pretty well and are quite responsive. The buttons in the bottom left will control the direction you want to go (left or right), and then you’ll find the A and B buttons on the bottom right. To jump, you’ll need to press the B button. If you tap on it while in the air, you will be able to perform a dash forward. In order to attack, just tap on the A button for a simple slash. A tap-and-hold of this button will allow you to “charge up” and do a stronger forward dash-and-slash attack.
Nakama features full support for gamepads, so if you have one to use, I recommend trying it out with this game. I don’t have any, so I was not able to test this part of the game.
Once enemies are defeated, they’ll drop hearts for you to fill up your health gauge, which appears on top of your character. If you take damage, it will deplete, so make sure to keep an eye on that bar. When you die, you’ll be able to see how many points you ended up scoring and how many kills you managed to rack up. While the Story mode features levels, it still feels like a survival game if anything.
If you’re in the Ghost Forest mode, there is a shop at the beginning that you can make use of to purchase some power-ups. This is recommended, as the enemies are much more difficult, and you can probably use as much help as you can get to make any progress. The ghosts will drop money instead of hearts for you to stock up as well.
Nakama is able to store replays of your game, in case you ever feel like watching your epic run or your epic fail of a death. There is also full Game Center integration for leaderboards and achievements, so there’s always a bit of a competition going in this game.
I’ve been playing this game for the past few days, and I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s one of my top game releases so far this year, as it’s beautiful, fun, addictive, and incredibly challenging with skill-based beat-em-up gameplay.
I highly recommend picking this one up if you’re looking for a great game to keep yourself busy this weekend. You can find it in the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for $0.99.