Developer: Donut Games
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.00
Device Reviewed On: iPad, iPhone 3G

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Urban Ninja is exactly as what it says on the tin. You play as a ninja, who is both chubby and French (both distinctly un-ninja like traits), who is navigating urban landscapes to try to get to a helicopter that is waiting with a rope for him. But just trying to get to the helicopter would be too easy for this surprisingly skilled warrior. First, he has a limited amount of energy, expended with each jump he makes. Second, he has to finish each level with a certain number of points to successfully complete it. Players get points by collecting stars (which also replenish energy), by getting to the helicopter with as much energy as possible remaining, and by getting as close to the helicopter’s escape rope as possible. While you’ll primarily be fighting the level layouts, some enemies also lay in wait to keep you from getting to your goal.

In many ways, Urban Ninja is ingenious in the way that the levels serve as your primary adversary as much as the enemies do. This is almost like a puzzle game as you have to figure out what you need to do, and the proper way to navigate the levels. Some of the later levels get especially challenging as some are just difficult to complete, whereas others are difficult to complete with the prerequisite number of points required, which demands a more thorough level exploration. There are 40 levels in all, and the game definitely explores these concepts to their full potential. As well, the game features the great art style common to Donut Games: a colorful look with sprites that resemble the 16-bit era in all its complex simplicity.

Urban Ninja does not come without its flaws. First is the inability to do anything than a full power jump. A lot of sections would be easier if you had the ability to control the power as well as the angle of the jumps. As well, when you’re on walls and hanging from ropes and rafters, having the ability to move side to side or up and down would also make a lot of otherwise hard jumps easier. While the game was designed with these restrictions in mind, they feel like they’re unnecessary roadblocks in playing the game in a way that feels most comfortable. The game also doesn’t let you pan around to explore the level, so you’ll be venturing blindly through levels the first time through. As well, while the game supports online high scores, it is through a proprietary system that kicks you out to a web page in Safari when you want to view them.

While Urban Ninja may be a bit stiff at times with the control of the eponymous ninja, it can’t detract from the great concept and the way the game splendidly explores its puzzle platforming for all its worth. Urban Ninja is a fine way to spend $0.99 on the App Store.

Posted in: Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , , ,