Kid Niki

Let the weirdness begin.

Review Date: March 15, 2021

Release Date: November 1, 1987

Platform: NES

Publisher: Data East and/or Irem

Genre: Linear Platformer

Anecdotes: By 1987, going over to the cousins’ house to play video games was happening much less often. There was no need; we had the biggest library. We would still go for other reasons, of course, but end up playing games anyway. Most of the time, I would play what I didn’t have at home. Kid Niki and all of its weirdness falls into that category.

Description: The story, straight from the manual: KID NIKI is truly AWESOME! This “rad” and “bad” punk dude is out to rescue his spike-haired girlfriend, Princess Margo, from the clutches of the Stone Wizard. Armed with a razor-sharp sword, this miniature madman slices his giant rivals down to size! Wow, it’s simple and to the point. There are no blatant lies nor absurdities in the story, either. The booklet does lie intentionally about there being only seven rounds, though.

Maybe I wrote too soon about lack of absurdities. Here, there’s a bird getting plucked by an arrow for some reason, leading to…
…Kid Niki saying “WILL HELP YOU!” and running through the window.

The game is divided into eight stages, called rounds in the game. Each round is subdivided into 14 segments, but they’re not really important other than to measure progress. Each round has a boss, with the Stone Wizard in Round 8 serving as the final boss.

Positives: Well, at least the third boss doesn’t cause Niki’s sword to go flying across the screen. The levels are of fair length and the first four shouldn’t give anyone too much trouble. There are tons of secret areas to find, but unfortunately, they’ll nearly impossible to find, so players would already have to know about them. The game will also give players some laughs at the humorous situations the game comes up with.

Hey, look! Mitosis Bosses are back! At least the sword stays in Niki’s hand when he hits them.

Negatives: At its core, this is just another ratchet scrolling, left to right, platformer that has existed in many forms already. The game only offers one unique gameplay idea, but, unfortunately, it’s not a good thing. When Niki hits a boss (except for the Horned Witch in Round 3 for some reason), his sword goes flying out of his hands. He has to retrieve it, wherever it may go. While the game is forgiving enough to boost Niki up to his sword if he can’t reach it normally, having to run back or waste time jumping to get it puts Niki at risk of losing a life and prevents Niki from landing hits with any speed.

Hang on a moment there, Spike, while I go get my weapon out of the grass.

More Screenshots:

Ah, it’s Death Breath. This guy really blows.
I found a roomful of huevos! Niki can jump on most huevos and they’ll crack. Inside will be a worm, a scroll, or an extra life. It’s a great place to farm lives, for what that’s worth.
I don’t know; that seems like a rough place to have a pipe shoved into.
Rub a dub dub, Niki takes on Green Grub.
Yuck. These look like Atari 2600 graphics.
Say hi to Mad Monk, who fights by calling Niki a fool and dropping F bombs on him.

Grade: C

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