Indie retro tributes are a dime a dozen, but the really good ones are rarer than you think. Blazing Chrome, a 2019 run ‘n’ gun channeling Contra III, is one of them. And today its developers at JoyMasher announced they’ve got a new one in the works called Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider. It’s basically 16-Bit Ninja Gaiden, and it looks rad.
You play as a ninja cyborg who rises up against its masters and takes on an army of super soldiers to dismantle the totalitarian regime ruling over a dystopic future. Along the way you’ll collect new upgrades and abilities, and slash through some detailed bosses. It also looks like you’ll get to go full Akira motorcycle slide at some point. Think Contra with a sword.
Here’s the trailer:
Over at the PlayStation Blog, art director Danilo Dias listed a number of inspirations for the look and feel of Vengeful Guardian. One obvious reference point is H.R. Giger of Alien fame whose fusion of organic curves and metallic surfaces is on clear display in the game’s sci-fi aesthetic. But Dias also lists Keita Amemiya, the director of 1991 Japanese sci-fi movie Zeiram, and Japanese TV series like Genocyber and Cybernetic Guardians as inspirations as well.
Dias also admits that there’s a lot of competition in the retro ninja side-scroller category. There’s The Messenger, Katana Zero, and Cyber Shadow to name just a few. I’d even throw mini-arcade nostalgia hit Steel Assault into the mix. Of course, all of those were great, in part because they each excelled at something different.
Hopefully, Vengeful Guardian is able to carve out a similar niche. Blazing Chrome was a refreshingly tight and focused arcade hit at a time when Metroidvanias and roguelites were dominating Steam. JoyMasher’s latest is currently slated to arrive on PlayStation, Switch, and PC this fall.