Developer Ponos, creators of two of my favorite puzzle games Puzzle Prism [$2.99/Lite] and Puzzle Cosmos [$2.99], have just released the latest game in their “Mr.” series of casual titles called Mr. Ninja [99¢/Lite]. Mr. Ninja joins the ranks of Mr. Space!! [99¢/Lite] and Mr. AahH!! [Free] as containing a simple gameplay mechanic with a compelling high scoring system, all wrapped up in stylish visuals (in this particular case, extremely orange stylish visuals).
Mr. Ninja plays similar to games like Dizzypad [Free/HD] and Jump O’Clock [99¢] where you must jump to and from a series of spinning discs, but with the added element of destroying spiky enemies along the way. One touch of the screen sends your ninja leaping from one disc to another, and just coming into contact with enemies causes him to slice them into pieces using a katana. The main goal is to go as far as possible, and missing one landing will drop Mr. Ninja into oblivion, thus ending your run.
The mechanics are super tight in Mr. Ninja, and when you end up missing a disc it’s only due to your own misjudgment. Levels are randomized each time, offering a different setup of disc sizes, rotation speeds, and enemy placements. Aside from discs, you will occasionally jump into a cannon which will fire you off into a predetermined direction. Slicing up enemies consecutively will add to a score multiplier, which is the key to getting huge scores in Mr. Ninja.
The core gameplay is very good, and variety comes from the 3 different modes to play in. Normal Mode is an endless mode where you keep on jumping and slashing enemies until you finally slip up and die. Super Chain is a timed mode, and amongst the enemies there will sometimes be a star. Slicing this star starts a super chain timer where your multiplier will temporarily continue to increase with each enemy slain even if it’s not consecutively. Your final score for this mode is tallied up once the level timer in the corner has run out.
Finally there is Impossible mode, which is like Normal Mode... but impossible. Discs are much smaller here, and therefore harder to land on. Also, they will spin counterclockwise as opposed to the other modes where they only spin clockwise, making your journey even more difficult. Pinpoint precision is needed for Impossible mode, but its difficulty also makes it the most satisfying mode when you do well.
There really isn’t a whole lot to Mr. Ninja, but the gameplay mechanics are solid and it’s a fun time in either short or long bursts. Plus, the Game Center leaderboards for each mode will have you chasing high scores for quite some time. But don’t just take my word for it, as there is a lite version for you to try out yourself, and even more impressions in our forums. For a simple yet compelling arcade game, Mr. Ninja is worth a look.