Developer: Hao Yun
Price: FREE (On sale from $0.99)
Version: 1.3.2
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

A large number of people from all over the world are familiar with ninjas. Depending on the region they might be noble stealthy warriors or deplorable assassins, but they’re the kind of warrior we all know about. I’d never thought about it until playing Ninja, Inc. but ninjas don’t just start out as ninjas. They’re regular people who’ve trained in the shadowy arts of shadowy-ness to become death incarnate. Janitors, police officers, students, etc; they all hold the potential. I can’t really say I’ve come away from this tower-building, zombie-slaying sim a changed man, but I’ll certainly think twice before messing with any math teachers.

So zombies are being zombies and overrunning the place. In order to drive the rotting hordes back players will have to train elite teams of ninjas (culled from a number of different folks found throughout the neighborhood), then hone their skills to a razor’s edge. Functionally it’s a lot like building rooms in a tower to attract/hire specific people, then turning them into killing machines. Each ninja that isn’t otherwise occupied with sparring and whatnot steadily earns cash that’s needed to buy more rooms and expand the towers. I say “towers” (plural) because as soon as any of the nearby buildings swarming with zombies are completely cleared they’ll be added to players’ real estate holdings and function just like their main structure.

There’s a lot to keep track of in Ninja, Inc., but that also means there’s a lot to do. Stamina is required to fight zombies and recharges in real time, but it can take quite a few battles before the meter empties. And once it does there might be resources (i.e. coins, training scrolls, etc) to collect or produce. Or possibly rooms to construct or towers to expand. Maybe it’s about time to upgrade that special shield skill so it blocks more damage during tough battles. It’s possible to completely run out of things to do in a given session, but it’s not the kind of scenario that pops up with any frequency.

Having so much to do could also leave players feeling overwhelmed, though. It’s not absolutely necessary to plow through every little task in one sitting, of course. On the other hand it can be difficult to keep track of everything. With all the tunnel digging (i.e. fighting underground zombies to unlock new combat skills), individual ninja upgrades, scroll construction, building expansion, expansion expansion, training, fulfilling quest requirements, hiring sidekicks, and simply clearing out infested structures it can become a bit difficult to keep track of everything.

Ninja, Inc. is a little rough around the edges and possibly suffers from having a bit too much to do at one time, but it’s surprisingly difficult to put down. There’s always the desire to see that next ninja or finish clearing out one last floor. That’s what kept me playing, anyway.

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