Many games have attempted to capture the essence of pure speed as part of their appeal. It's powerful when applied correctly, so often being impossible to emulate in real life. You can't run like Sonic, your car doesn't go as fast as Captain Falcon's - and I'd be very surprised if you can move like the hero of 10 Second Ninja.
He's a double jumping, sword slashing, shuriken throwing robot destruction machine. Madly dashing through short platforming puzzles, his ultimate goal is always the same: destroy the nazi robots as fast as possible. Half the game is sequencing and strategy, determining the most efficient uses of those precious second jumps and limited throwing stars. At first a level will seem straight forward - a combination of runs and leaps that take out everything in what you'll assume is a respectable time.
Things can be confusing at first, for different reasons - but then you notice the time savers. The opportunities to take out two enemies with one move, skip jumps or maintain momentum. In later levels the addition of complications like falling rocks and portals change the equation. The slow consideration to start a level is a nice counter-point to the split-split-second reaction times needed to perform the plans you come up with.
That's the other half. Thumb-mutilating skills coupled with reset after reset to shave milliseconds off times in pursuit of those required to unlock levels or climb the bragging rights only online leaderboard. On a 360 pad it controls wonderfully and the simplistic art uses precise frame stages to broadcast changes in status, vital for instant understanding. While it won't be for everyone, Ninja does exactly what it set out to, with style and humour to boot.
Version tested: PC. Played for 3240 ten second periods.
8 / 10
- Beautiful combination of sound, art and design.
- Addictive and simple to learn.
- One trick pony.
- Claw-hand creator.