Clan N tells the story of a samurai group in the Far East region who are sworn to protect their realm from any threats. A former, disgruntled, member of Clan N, Akuji, discovers that the balance of the world lies in three areas: Peace, Knowledge, and Time. Before being kicked out, the now-excluded Clan N member learns that by removing one of these from the world, he could harness the power of the spiritual imbalance to grow stronger. After his banishment, Akuji used this power to slaughter villages and form Seishin Gun to keep the destruction going. It’s up to the remaining members of Clan N, Akira, Reina, Daiki and Tarou to stop him.
Clan N is an isometric (think Diablo’s point of view) beat’em up where players can choose from four characters: the shinobigatana-wielding ninja Akira, the staff-striking Reina, the dual sword-swinging Daiki, and the sickle-slashing monk Tarou. Each character has a standard, strong, special and throwable attacks. All of these attacks types can be combined to create effective combos. The main addendum being that the characters’ special attacks can be tricky to pull off as it requires attacking without being damaged in order to build up a meter. Players can also charge the Strong attack to pack a stronger punch.
Along with the attacks, players can dodge and roll out of incoming attacks along with jumping. Mixing all of these actions can create surprisingly deep combos and long chains of attacks. As you progress and fight off enemies, you can refill your health and also find special orbs that allows you to upgrade certain skills (strength, endurance, etc…) or obtain additional lives in the shop.
Levels are tailored as you’d expect; go from point A to point B killing every enemy in your path. To mix things up a bit, the developers added a mini-game in each level, which upon completion, are unlocked and playable from the main menu. It’s a nice, albeit slightly pointless diversion. Each mini-game switches to a 2D perspective and allows players to only use the required button. For example, one of them has you running away from a boulder on a wooden bridge. The only thing you can do is just over obstacles…which still damages you.
Clan N features pixalated, albeit colorful, visuals. Each character is uniquely designed and the game features a decent enemy variety; while some enemies are repeated throughout the game. Levels are uniquely designed and each features a decent environment setting from village to forest to undergrounds. The problem here is that characters are very small and it can sometimes be tough to make out your character out of the bunch of enemies attacking you or simply not even being able to see incoming attacks. The soundtrack is pretty unique and interesting and melds well with the game’s settings; it includes a few Japanese inspired sounds which is a nice change from the typical more rock inspired soundtrack of the genre.
Clan N is a great and unique addition to the beat’em up genre. While characters feel a bit similar, the diversity of attacks offers a surprisingly deep combo system and despite the mini-games being a bit basic, they do offer a nice break of the monotony. Levels can feel overly long, but the game checkpoints often meaning you don’t have to start from the start every time you resume. Fans of the beat’em up genre should definitely look into this one.
- Simplistic, yet deep combat
- Mini-games are a nice diversion
- Levels drag on for too long
- Characters look too small