Ever wanted to see a rainbow colored fish climb a waterfall or get zapped by lightning? Well, now you can thanks to Niji an XBLIG from Binary Madness. If you like climbing games and some nice colorful art please read on.
Niji is a very simplistic game. At least in concept, while it can be pretty challenging to beat the game it does offer a number of play options. Niji has a single player story, endless and survival mode. Story mode you are on a rescue mission. Endless mode is pure climbing until you run out of your five lives. Survival mode is how long can you last with only 1 life. Your scores are all kept on a local leaderboard.
Multiplayer also has 3 modes that allow for 4 players locally to compete on the same screen. No split screen action here so falling behind can really be a killer. The multiplayer modes are Last Fish Standing, Time Attack, and Point Rush. Last Fish Standing is simple all players are given a set amount of lives and the one that survives is the winner. Time attack is a point based match with infinite lives, get the highest score before the time runs out. The last mode is a great mode for the game, but also seems a bit hard to attain even in just a two player match and that is Point Rush. In point rush you set a certain amount of points as the goal and the first one to obtain that amount wins. The downside to that last mode is that the lowest point value is still so high that it quickly becomes taxing and tedious for all the players just for one player to reach even the lowest goal.
The controls are pretty simple in this game. Your left stick is your directional movement of left or right. The A button is your swim, jump and double jump button and B is your trick button. You make your way upward by swimming up waterfalls the clouds create and jumping from one water fall to another. Every time you press A the energy meter goes down so you have to keep a decent pace without over exerting yourself or you’ll fall to your death. Jumping from one waterfall to another as well as doing tricks increases your multiplier/combo and will greatly increase the points you earn when a combo is ended. You do have to watch out for the lightning clouds they can stun you and that could make you fall to your death as well as missing the next waterfall. If you manage to go through 7 clouds without dying you will get a super boost up higher into the climb. All this is down with the screen slowly advancing up or quickly if it has to keep up with you.
In multiplayer one of the major downsides is that since you share the same screen as all the other players it is very easy to find yourself losing a life because of the speed of a fish that has gotten a little bit of a lead on you. You also can mess them up by coming back into play higher than them and quickly forcing them off the screen. This is what makes point rush very difficult and time consuming since the constant deaths keep cutting your combo’s short.
When all is said and done though, Niji is fun game for short periods of time and a good game to play with the family. 3 out of 5 in my book.
Final Score: 3/5