Version Reviewed: 1.4
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Ninja Warrior Temple understands that the way of the ninja is never an easy one. It takes skill and insight bordering on the supernatural: a perfect melding of body and mind. But while its clever designs show its mind is in the right place, the slippery controls suggest the body still needs work.
Ninja Warrior Temple is a textbook “masocore” game where players take on super short but devastatingly difficult platforming challenges. While early stages use fairly formulaic layouts like “jump over spikes in an incredibly tight time window,” the game soon reveals its smarter tricks.
It features a really cool dynamic control system that changes the player's abilities based on the context of each new stage. Some levels offer double-jumps, others have rope climbing or tucking and rolling. In Hell stages players can even manipulate gravity. These tweaks are small but add a ton of variety.
However, the controls are also the game’s greatest problem. The key to a successful masocore game is making sure each death is the player’s fault. There can be no excuses for failing tasks this tough besides the player's own lack of hard work. Unfortunately, Ninja Warrior Temple doesn’t pass this test, which is a particularly punishing one on touch screen devices. Handling is floaty, slippery, and kind of slow. Even with a chunky, grid-like pixelated art style the precision simply isn’t there - just a boring beige palette.
But while the controls are the source of too many deaths, they aren’t insurmountable. The game tends to throw stages at players in a semi-predictable order. That combined with the three lives they are given means players can practice and actually improve instead of merely hoping the next random room will go easy on them. And besides, with its copious blood spray and poorly-spelled curses, even death isn’t so bad.
Maybe that’s the profound hidden truth of Ninja Warrior Temple: death, like life, isn’t always fair, so we might as well make peace with it and go out as cool as possible.