Game profile 10 Second Ninja X

10 Second
Ninja X
Posted by Mark at 09:06

The sequel to the lesser-known but still well-recieved 10 Second Ninja gets X appended to its title, which I'm taking to mean is pronounced "Ecks", like the letter. Although not holding onto that suffix for Ten Second Ninja Ten seems like a bit of a missed opportunity.

As previously mentioned, this is another of those precision platformers, but this time the gimmick is that each level must be completed in ten seconds or less. At the end of each level, you are awarded one, two or three stars based on your time, and when you clock up enough of them you unlock more levels (in batches of ten, obviously) and get to do it all over again. In this case, the objective is to destroy a handful of enemies in the time limit, rather than reach the exit.

Something that does stand out is that where Ten Second Ninja Cross has looked backwards for its aesthetics it's looked to Sonic, which isn't something that you see very often outside of games which are also seeking to ape the series' gameplay too- the protagonist is blue, runs around fast and curls up into a ball when he jumps. The enemies (which release blue birds when destroyed) clearly take their design cues from the Eggrobos in Sonic & Knuckles, and the antagonist is even an angry ginger with fantastic facial hair.

Ironically considering this game's genre and what it takes influence from, it is almost completely devoid of inertia. While it's free of many of the load times that Super Meat Boy had on xBox 360, it brings everything to a complete stop at the end of each level while it individually gives you each of your stars, then tells you how long you took, with a bonus pause before all that if you've managed a new best time. Things like the automatic replay and even the limited animation on the loading screen SMB always felt like it was moving even when it was stopped.

Something that brings the game to a much more crashing halt is the game's three-star system as a means of gating progression. To unlock each group of levels you need to get two-thirds of the available stars, and the difficulty of this is pitched just a smidge too high for the first set. Getting your first fifteen stars from the thirty available is easy enough, but squeezing out the other five is a different (and more tedious) question altogether, which is a shame as it's after the first ten levels that the game really starts to get into gear.

After that, the initial single-screen hub world expands into a massive flying ship with other characters and hidden bits. The game's story, which is lightweight and raises the occasional smile, starts to kick in and the levels themselves start to add more interesting challenges, like electrified surfaces and things you can bounce your shurikens off.

Most importantly, by this time you've got enough practice in and you can get those three-star times in the early levels, and new ones come at a quicker pace, with those new elements gradually moving the game's focus away from reaction to puzzles and careful planning, which is a much more rewarding task than that first chapter.

10 Second Ninja The Sound From Family Fortunes has a lot to offer, particularly in a genre that's not seen a lot of love recently- it's just a shame that it's unfortunately hidden it behind a rather poor start.
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10 Second
Ninja X
Posted by Mark at 18:58

10 Second Ninja X is a sequel to 10 Second Ninja, which seemed to go down well on PC two years ago.

It's a precision platformer in the Meat Boy mould, but on a much smaller scale. Each level must be completed in- you guessed it- ten seconds, which makes them more compact, and the tight time limit makes gameplay much more about gut instinct than considered timing.

This must be balanced with finding the optimal route around the environment, as rather than reaching a point as in SMB the objective is to defeat a number of robots which are dotted around the place.

Going for these targets adds to the knife-edge tension as you can feel that otherwise quick time disappear following a botched attempt at despatching a robot.

The precision platformer is perhaps defined by its difficulty level, and in initial play this feels as if it's set a little too high, with the mobile-style three stars system gating progress all too well.

Despite this, the individual levels do seem finely-crafted and making good use of their limitations, and the controls are responsive enough to handle the game's demands, so playing the game to reach those heights isn't too much of a chore.

We'll be giving the game a proper review soon.
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