Developer: Pocket Trap
Price: Free ($0.99 to unlock the full game)
Version Reviewed: 1.22
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Ninjin features a ninja rabbit who throws shurikens and uses a sword to cut down their carrot-stealing enemies. Carrots are important, they don’t just grow out of the ground! Well, regardless, our ninja rabbit protagonist isn’t going to stand for grand theft carrots, and it’s the player’s job to help.

Ninjin-05Everything takes place at high speed, running to the right. Players can move around the battlefield with the left ‘joystick’ that looks like a button. The right ‘button’ can be tapped to slash the sword, and swiped to fire a shuriken in the given direction. Defeated enemies drop carrots which can be spent on upgrades, which come in handy to beating the full version’s five levels and two endless modes.

Really, one’s enjoyment of Ninjin will come down to how much the combat system is enjoyed. There’s a lot in the way of tricky angles, and that can make the combat feel incredibly awkward, but it’s one of those things that will just click with some folks and won’t for others. I do find it awkward at times, but I like the combination of tapping to slash and swiping to fire. I think in a more open playing area, and not one so laterally-based, it could be really useful.

Ninjin-01The game is freemium, with a definite paywall to see anything past the first level, and having seen that content, there’s not anything particularly revolutionary or revelatory about what later levels introduce. It’s just more of the approach to the concept. This isn’t an inherently bad thing for people who enjoy the core concept; hey, that’s how paywalls should work. Plus, there’s no consumable IAP (for better or for worse), so paying to unlock the whole game actually unlocks the whole game and doesn’t just provide more opportunities to spend money, which I’m sure someone’s going to do eventually. But not Ninjin.

It’s not a game of the year candidate, and I struggled to enjoy its controls at times, but there’s a decent amount of fun to be had from Ninjin for those who want to play as a ninja rabbit.

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