From time to time I like to scroll through the Ouya market place to see what’s new. This week I came across a thumbnail that image that really caught my mind. There’s something about a kick ass looking ninja with the words “fast paced ninja action platformer” in the description that can make a gamer stop in their tracks. Another great indication that you’re about to experience a boat load of fun is the rating, 4.5/5 stars means that this is getting downloaded right now. I’m always a try before you buy guy and the screenshots provided didn’t show me anything that I didn’t want to encounter for myself so I let the download go through.
After a short download, I picked up my Ouya control and started the game. I was greeted with a full screen shot of the thumbnail that originally caught my attention then it moved onto the main screen. Along with links to Facebook and Twitter, you are given a section to see the credits a sound option and a volume option. The only thing I wanted to press was the big red button that said “play”, but I hesitated. You see if there’s one thing that can make me like your game right off the bat more than anything, it’s a great soundtrack. I hadn’t heard any in game music yet, but the main menu music told me I was about to kick ass and look great doing it. Starting the game I was given only one chapter to play, because it was a demo, and the others seem to be unlocked via game progression. Each chapter picture tells a story about the danger that you’ll be encountering when you reach it, but I wasn’t going there yet, I was on my way to start a story.
Surprisingly enough the level selector of the chapter had me taken back for a few seconds. The layout looked like Cut the Rope, except with Shuriken’s as the picture on each level. I was already having a great feeling about the game based on the music and look of the game, so I didn’t let this worry get to me and I proceeded. The game opens up on a rainy night with you on top of a building reading a scroll and stating that you have to take the news you just read to your sensei. The music isn’t as upbeat as before, but the high pitched drums give you the sense of danger. There are three billboards behind you that read “Chase, fetch and leap”, I’m not sure if that’s an add for anything in the game or just design. After narrating what has to be done you take a flying leap off the building like you were batman and the next part of the level loads.
At first I was worried because I couldn’t jump, but as I walked forward I realized that only when you get to the button instructions of jumping is it unlocked. There are little lights that you pick up as you make your way through the predetermined pathway of the first level. They don’t give life, just something to collect to help your level rating. On the top there is a percentage that increases when you collect another light piece, there are also two special collectors items in each stage that are hidden. As you move, I’m reminded of both Strider and Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden, because you run with your sword out, jump off walls and can double jump. The other action that reminded me of those characters were the killing animations. You can run up and stab them, but that wouldn’t be ninja like. In fact you learn that you can do a sneak from behind, death from above or a running kill, all of the animations are satisfying and leave you only to wanting to perform them more and more. There are no points given for kills, but if you take too long on a pesron your time may go past the goal time. Along with the light pieces and special charaters to pick up, quickness is also a factor within each level. You are given a set time below a running clock and it’s up to you reach on or before that time. At the end of each level you are given a tally of how many lights and special characters you’ve created along with your time. Based on collections and time you are rewarded with 1,2 or 3 Shuriken’s. Even thought I was afraid of this being one of those games, I wasn’t upset or deterred when the level was over. I was happy to see I received 3 Shurikens and went on to the next. All the levels in the first chapter seem to take place in a huge building with bonsai trees, and lamps you would see in a dojo. You learn you can dash through the air to break barricades in front of you and also the same attack to break them below you while your’re falling. I didn’t find the enemies very difficult, it was the environment that was my main enemy. Dissapearing and reappearing spikes in the ground put my ninja skills to the limit. If it wasn’t for the bad ass soundtrack and infinite continues, I don’t know what I would have done. The only bad thing is that when you die, you may go back to a checkpoint, but the clock is always running. If you find yourself in a section that is taking a long time, don’t rush it. In fact, get good at that section and find shortcuts. When you return to the area you can breeze right past it. The demo only gives 7 levels to try and by the time I was on the 7th level, I was tapping that jump button so quickly I was scaring myself. My reaction time was really impressive and the game seemed to reward you with smooth action animations when fighting and jumping from the floor to the wall and back.
I’m not going to lie, I would like to continue playing this game. I did a search and see that not only is it available on the Ouya, but also through the Google Play store and on Steam. If you have a control I highly suggest you play this game, the description didn’t like when it said it was a “fast paced ninja platformer”, the only thing it didn’t mention was the kick ass music.