Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
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Some games are relative slow burners, taking time to truly reveal how much fun they really are. Ninja Ranch! is one such title.
At first, Ninja Ranch! is a little confusing, even after the tutorial. Combining Sudoku style elements with a brief hint of Tetris, Ninja Ranch! is simple at heart yet involving. Players are presented with fields full of stones. Each stone depicts a number, highlighting how series of animals must be arranged. Any number from 3 up to 12 can appear, thus requiring that amount of animals encased around it. Caveats come in the form of how such groups of animals can be arranged with squares, rectangles and straight lines the only way of grouping the creatures. It's also vital that the entire field is full of animals which produces some challenging moments, akin to the trickiest of Sudoku puzzles.
It's a simple game mechanic but it takes a few levels to truly grasp effectively. Fortunately, with an unlimited selection of puzzles, there's no fear of running out of options here and it's very much worth taking the time to master. Ninja Ranch! is a free to play game and unlike other freemium games, there's hardly a need to buy any in-app purchases. While coins are required to buy new turns and hints, a generous number are provided upon first playing and a daily spin generates more each day.
I'd have liked to have seen some form of story mode that brought more purpose to the levels or a selection of difficulty levels, but as it stands, Ninja Ranch! still provides a sufficient amount of fun. It fits into that niche of the kind of game to play in short doses and watch the seconds fly by. For Sudoku fans, it'll provide a fun twist on a tried and tested logic puzzle format.