Fans of Konami’s Ganbare Goemon, aka the Mystical Ninja, have been hoping for a new game in the series ever since the last new title was released on the Nintendo DS way back in 2005. It’s 2023 and that still hasn’t happened—Konami just doesn’t like money, it seems. However, indie developer and publisher GoodFeel has stepped up to the plate and given fans something to fill in that massive, 18-year Goemon-sized hole in the form of a Switch game that came out on November 30th, 2023. Otogi Katsugeki Mameda no Bakeru Oracle Saitarou no Sainan!!, or roughly Fantasy Action Tale: Little Tanuki Bakeru and the Calamity of Oracle Saitarou!!, was originally unveiled during a Nintendo Direct stream in June earlier this year, and was immediately dubbed a “spiritual successor” to Goemon by journalists and gamers.
The game’s distinctly Japanese aesthetics and themes, its action platforming gameplay as well as its colorful, postive vibe are some of the main reasons it initially receive the “spiritual successor” moniker, however another big reason is that GoodFeel staff is comprised of many ex-Konami employees who worked on the Goemon games in the series’ heyday. How is the game, and how does it stack up as a spiritual successor to the legendary Ganbare Goemon series? Well, this is a review (minimal story spoilers) that aims to answer just that. In short, however, Mameda no Bakeru is sure to satisfy anyone who loves Goemon, 3D platformers or very “Japanesey” games.
Currently, there are no announced plans to bring this game to international markets, however I believe it’s likely that the game will be released outside of Japan in the near future. The game is 100% playable and enjoyable without knowledge of Japanese, but just in case an official localization in English never comes to be for some reason, fans are already working on a translation patch—amazing!