Developer: Penguin Spot Games
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.00
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

IMG_0469[1]Catch a Ninja is one of those all-too-common games that are so unexceptional they are actually difficult to review. It does nothing that great worth describing but nothing that bad either. The best thing that can be said is at least it’s on the upside of average.

Catch a Ninja is mostly Fruit Ninja but with actual ninjas. Instead of slashing apples and watermelons out of the air, players slash villainous, invading ninjas out of existence. The way the ninjas sneakily pop out into the foreground gives the a game a Whac-A-Mole feeling as well, but the focus on slashing while avoiding bombs will remind many of Halfbrick’s work.

The ninjas are small and they show up fast, so slashing soon boils down to reflexive tapping. It’s easy to get a groove going but it’s more mindless muscle memory than Zen satisfaction. Bombs and stray ninjas are quick to cause damage but extra lives show up often enough it’s never too big of a deal. Plus, the one special attack slashes away everything on screen which is pretty much all one could want from a special attack.

While this is all fine and fun, at least in how inoffensive it is, Catch a Ninja doesn’t offer many reasons to keep playing past a round or two. The three unique maps have lovely, painted art styles, but their differences change virtually nothing about the gameplay. There’s a score-based classic mode and a time-based survival mode but, again, the actual impact on play style is negligible. As for the music, it’s “best” trait is how eerily perfect it nails the sound of “generic video game music.”

Catch a Ninja is a competent game and a fine time-waster. At this point in the App Store’s development though, even the time-wasters should be finding fresh ways to stand out.


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