App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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Movies are so wrong when it comes to showing ninja training. Usually the process involves far less "wax-on, wax-off," and a far more getting the would-be ninja's butt handed to them on a training mat. But what if the process was as simple as learning good timing and the proper hand deflection techniques? If this were the case, then NinjSmash, a new free-to-play game from RV AppStudios would be required course material. Do you have the precision necessary to be a ninja?
Taking a step back and viewing the title objectively, NinjSmash is essentially a visually unimpressive "press A to win" flash game, packaged in an iOS wrapper. The key technique to perfect is pressing the screen at the proper time so a ninja swings a mallet and knocks a rock out from under a precariously perched sensei. If your timing is true, the stone will be ejected from the pile, landing the master gently on the row below. Should the strike be errant, either a stone will be rendered off kilter or the dojo master will be sent tumbling to the floor.
Further complicating matters, the player's avatar keeps being elevated and dropped on a string. Herein lies the true challenge, as the speed and rate of both the descent and climb as well as the heights the player is raised to varies depending upon the complexity of the stage and the number of stones in the stack. There are power-ups that can be purchased for real money that can make the process more simple to complete, but honestly, as long as the player has any semblance of reflexes, they shouldn't be necessary.
As noted earlier, the game is completely free to download, so there are several opportunities for players to spend money in game. A couple of ads will pop up occasionally as well, but they are far from the intrusive nature of other free software on the platform. Also, stages are not difficult to unlock, easily rendering the entire game completed in nothing more than a one hour sitting.
Is the action of NinjSmash all that compelling? Not particularly. That said, there are far worse ways to spend an hour playing games on an iOS device. Considering that the entire game can be completed without spending a penny, it is at least worth checking out for an afternoon waiting in line at the DMV. Good mindless fun--why aren't there more games like this nowadays?