Windows Phone Central Game Roundup: Ninja Games
Two of the more common characters in Windows Phone games have to be zombies and ninjas. Aliens are popular as well but that's an awfully broad category. Ninjas are the stealthy assassins known for tossing razor sharp throwing stars or slicing through their enemies with a sword.
Both ninjas and zombies have their own Windows Phone Store Collection and this week's round-up will focus on the I Love Ninja Collection. The Collection showcases a handful of games featuring our black robed warriors. We've plucked a few of the titles to highlight and for the most part, all five titles are entertaining time wasters.
To avoid being repetitive, all the gaming titles in this week's roundup are available for low-memory devices.
Jack vs. Ninjas
Jack vs. Ninjas is an action shooter where you take on the role of a ten-year-old boy whose small town has been invaded by, you guessed it, ninjas. Armed with his trusty laser pistol and his skills at jumping, Jack must take out all the ninjas and defeat the evil Papa Ninja (a giant ninja panda bear).
The game has simple mechanics and takes on a slight endless runner feel. You tap the left side of the screen to have Jack jump and tap/slide along the right side of the screen to fire and aim Jack's blaster.
Ninjas come at you head on and pop-up from beneath manhole covers, logs and other objects laying around. Power-ups are also available throughout the game that will give Jack's hand cannon a little more punch or summon his faithful dog Buddy who runs out ahead of Jack and takes out the ninjas.
Game play is fun but while most of the game is played with Jack's enemies in front of him, there are occasions where they come from behind and the controls reverse. During these times the mechanics feel really awkward and leaves Jack vulnerable while you're frantically tapping the screen. I would have rather see the controls remain consistent throughout the game but I have to admit this does add to the challenge of things.
Graphics are well drawn-up (looks better on a live screen), game play challenging and overall Jack vs. Ninjas is a nice time waster of a title to have in your Windows Phone gaming library.
- Jack vs. Ninjas - Windows Phone 8 - 17MB - Trial / $.99 - Store Link
Ninja Runner is a multi-level platform styled game where you guide your ninja across rooftops of ancient cities battling evil warriors, eventually doing battle with the warrior's shogun.
Game mechanics include a series of taps and swipes to jump, double jump, sprint and slash your ninja across each level. The game has over thirty levels mapped out and the goal is to reach the escape gateway before time runs out and earn at least one ninja medallion to advance to the next level.
There is not a help section to define what minimum score will earn you that single medallion so you will basically need to take out as many enemies and collect as many coins as possible.
The game includes one power-up that can be collected to give your ninja a temporary boost of speed. You also have four enemy types that can be taken out with your sword or simply smashed by jumping on them. The game is somewhat forgiving in that if you miss a jump, your ninja resurrects and if time runs out, you can still finish the level (you just cannot advance).
The pace of the game has a little giddy-up to it and overall, Ninja Runner isn't a bad game to pass the time with.
- Ninja Runner - Windows Phone 8 - 15MB - Free - Store Link
Ninja Joe is another platform runner game that has you guiding your ninja (that would be Joe) across twenty-five levels based in the jungle, desert and a glacier.
The story line goes that Joe needs to time travel in order to find and collect mystical gems that will save his Master's life. He will need to collect the gems before evil velociraptors do.
There are two gaming modes; one that runs with the story line and another that is an endless runner mode where you simply run as far as you can. You control Joe through a series of screen gestures to make him jump, kick, dash and slide.
Game play with Ninja Joe has a slight sense of urgency in that the game screen is advancing and if Joe runs off the side of the screen, the game is over. You can also end things by missing a jump or other fates but with the moving screen gives the game pace a little zip.
There's not much to Ninja Joe but what is there is well done. It shouldn't be a surprise that Ninja Joe made the final cut for the I Love Ninjas Collection.
- Ninja Joe - Windows Phone 8 and 7.x - 36MB - Trial / $1.49 - Store Link
Tap Tap Ninja
Tap Tap Ninja is a fast paced, challenging, frustrating Windows Phone game where you have to guide your ninja across the screen to slice and dice fruit as it falls from the sky. Where Fruit Ninja is a first person perspective of slicing fruit, Tap Tap Ninja would be a third person perspective.
The game has upgrades and special powers to boost your score and you can compete against your Facebook or Twitter friends.
Game play is simple, just tap the screen where you need your ninja to slice the fruit in mid-air. Once sliced, your ninja will drift downward using an umbrella but won't need to land before he can attack the next piece of fruit.
There will be bombs that fall randomly and, just like in Fruit Ninja, you need to let those pass untouched. If three pieces of fruit hit the ground without being sliced, the game is over.
It does take some time to get used to the game mechanics and the learning process can be a little frustrating. Still, once you get the hang of things Tap Tap Ninja isn't a shabby game to have in your Windows Phone library.
- Tap Tap Ninja - Windows Phone 8 - 13MB - Free - Store Link
Three of the four gaming titles are very similar in nature and it's basically a coin toss as to which is the better of the three.
Each game has straightforward controls, solid graphics and challenging game play. Even the minor quirks with each weren't strong enough to cause you to run screaming from the room. I'm not about to say these three games are perfect but I will say they all three have enough appeal to recommend giving them all at least a try.
Tap Tap Ninja is the odd man out in this week's roundup but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Once you get the hang of the gaming mechanics, it can be a fun time waster of a game.
While we briefly touched on it, we would be remiss if we didn't take just a second to highlight one of the older ninja titles that has experienced a good amount of success on not only the Windows Phone platform but other mobile platforms as well. Fruit Ninja (which is also a part of the I Love Ninjas Collection) is a simple, yet challenging, game where you slice your way through fruit that is being tossed in the air. The Xbox title has three gaming modes, plenty of upgrades, is nicely animated and a great game to pass the time with.
- Fruit Ninja - Windows Phone 8 - 31MB - Trial / $.99 - Store Link
So do you agree with the Windows Phone Store's I Love Ninjas Collection? Did your favorite ninja game make the cut? If not, feel free to share your recommendation below in the comments.