The Ninja – Japanese Complacency

Jul 13, 2017
Action

Japanese Ninjas, battling one another atop odious pillars, relying on their skill and subterfuge. Or, apparently, chucking ninja stars until one of you dies.

The Ninja is one of the many iterations of ragdoll physics combat games from the makers of The Spearman and The Archer. Utilizing the same base gameplay – namely chucking stuff at the enemy until you kill them or die – only this time, you’re using ninja stars.

The main appealing difference from the other iterations of ragdoll combat games is the changed ascetic – the gentle Japanese music, the soothing flow of the wind in the bamboo that lines the background, the overall feeling of Sengoku Japan is felt surprisingly well in this simple mobile game.

It is admirable how many different games the developers have made based around different weapons, but it certainly begs the question of why it’s been made at all. Surely one weaponry throwing game was enough?

... it certainly begs the question of why it’s been made at all. Surely one weaponry throwing game was enough?

In The Ninja, you stand in wait atop your platform, hurling your ninja stars at enemies as they appear. The differences from previous iterations of games by the same developer, you can now jump or duck as desired. Not only that, but the enemy can as well.

The addition of actual dodging mechanics means that not only does the player need to aim and fire their ninja stars with pinpoint accuracy, you also need to be watching the oncoming stars as well, ready to dodge. That the enemy can dodge as well poses a few unique challenges.

The Ninja Review | Appolicious

The Ninja is one of the many iterations of ragdoll physics combat games from the makers of The Spearman and The Archer. Utilizing the same base gameplay – namely chucking stuff at the enemy until you kill them or die – only this time, you’re using ninja stars.

Firstly, because the enemy has the same abilities as you, it only ever makes sense to do one of two things: either throw your ninja star at the center mass when he’s firing or, even better, spam the enemy the moment he spawns and you’ll win.

READ  Stickman: Legacy of War - Failed Nostalgia

In contrast to The Spearman or The Archer, the throwing arcs of the ninja stars are unwieldy and confusing. A spear has a clear flight path, as does an arrow; but a ninja star? There’s no kind of predictive guide like in previous games, helpful hints to point the general direction of the spear’s flight. You somewhat just… click and drag and hope the enemy dies.

Due to this uncertainty, the only real winning strategy is simply to continuously spam your throwing stars the very moment they appear. Use the first few to gauge the angle and force, then just keep firing them the exact way until the enemy dies. Very quickly, levels will cease to be an actual challenge and instead devolve into a mindless finger exercise.

If you don’t find yourself firing 10 ninja stars at the enemy in under 5 seconds and winning every round, you’ve done something wrong.

If you don’t find yourself firing 10 ninja stars at the enemy in under 5 seconds and winning every round, you’ve done something wrong.

While it is nice to feel like you’ve mastered the game, there’s not really any skill involved. All that happened is you realized the base gameplay was broken and took advantage of it.

Couple the lack of distinctive or rewarding gameplay with the mysterious lack of any kind of upgrades – seriously, why take upgrades away? They improve it so massively –and you’re left with a rather bland, slightly confusing and ultimately unsatisfying combat game that pales in comparison to its betters.

READ  Guns of Boom - Blasting Makes Me Feel Good

It feels like it could be so much more but, without any significant gameplay to speak of, it’s nothing more than a few minutes of entertainment, then the eternal fate of being uninstalled.

The Ninja
Developer: BYV
Price: Free+
Search for more

Sam Eskenazi

Sam is a YouTuber, Streamer & Games Journalist. He loves to cook and listen to the sound of his own voice, ideally at the same time.

    Home Apps Games