Publisher: The Arcade Crew
Platforms: NS, PS4, PS5, PC
Version Played: PC
Vengeful Guardian Moonrider is the new game from JoyMasher, the developer of Odallus, Oniken, and one of my favorite games of 2019, Blazing Chrome. I saw a lot of names in the credits, but as I understand it, one person does most of the work on JoyMasher's games, and that's Danilo Dias, so keep that in mind. Moonrider continues JoyMasher's legacy of retro 2D action with an interesting mix of Shinobi III and Mega Man X.
The Shinobi III part comes with Moonrider's controls. Moonrider's main weapon is a sword and not kunai, but he definitely has Joe Musashi's moves. He's got the dash, running slash, wall jump, rope climbing, and dive kick. He even bounces off enemies after dive kicking their heads, just like in Shinobi III. Moonrider's other sword attacks are like a mix of Zero and Strider's. You have a 3 slash combo, you can walk while slashing, they have a wide arc, long reach, and their animations leave a trail of neon light behind, just like Capcom's Ninjas. You can also deflect many enemy projectiles by slashing them. Moonrider's controls feel a bit tighter than those classics, though. This game feels fast and responsive, and the hits feel like they have more impact, just like you'd expect from a game made by someone who has studied classic Ninja games.