‘Ninjatown: Trees of Doom’ Review – Climbing Trees and Fighting Demons, Just Another Day for Wee Ninja!

The evil Mr. Demon, for reasons unknown, has it out for the poor inhabitants of Ninjatown. He took to their homes in its critically successful DS release and looks to be at it again when creators Shawnimals team up with Venan (of Space Miner fame) to bring Ninjatown: Trees of Doom! [App Store].

Ninjatown: Trees of Doom for the iPhone is a wholly different affair to the strategic Nintendo DS combat game. It is a lighthearted, Doodle Jump-esque adventure, with enough twists to the gameplay to leave its own distinct flavor, even before the iconic, overly cute Ninjas of Ninjatown are factored in.

In Trees of Doom you take control of a solitary Wee Ninja, tasked by the Ol’ Master Ninja to climb the Trees of Doom and take the fight to Mr. Demon minions. Of course, being of the Ninja persuasion, there’s no way you’ll be scampering up that tree on your shins — instead you propel yourself upwards by jumping deftly between trees and using branches to fling you on high. It’s all very Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Naturally, Mr. Demon objects to your shenanigans and sends a horde of demon-like (but still very cute) monsters to stop you in your tracks. If that still isn’t enough, the aptly named Trees of Doom provide their own hazards in the form of evil ooze and slippery bark that’s best avoided, lest your quest be met with a long drop and sudden end.

Your Ninja is controlled by tapping either sides of the screen (the two trunks). Simply tapping will cause your Ninja to make a small leap, while holding down your finger will cause him to push off into a higher leap. These both need to be mastered to make it to the top and avoid the many pitfalls along the way. Of course, there may be times when you need to move vertically up a trunk, which you can do by pressing the side of the screen your Ninja is presently on. Branches are another helpful tool, which can be directed to fling your Ninja by swiping down on the screen, an on-screen arrow allowing you to control where you end up.

As in Doodle Jump and similar games, there are a raft of power-ups to collect on the way, all aimed at helping you inch just that little bit further. Granted, I don’t think any game has anything quite as bizzare as the Mucho-Mucho Moustachio though, a giant moustache that your Ninja clings to as it rockets him skyward. There are also the standard ninja-fare smoke bombs which allow your ninja to disappear and reappear further up the tree, and gum balloons that can be inflated to encompass you in a shield. All these items are needed to achieve the best score possible, which is recorded on the Plus+ leaderboards together with a large list of challenging achievements to attempt.

Trees of Doom‘s appeal comes largely thanks to its crisp, richly colored artwork. Sure, the gameplay itself is an interesting spin on the usual tilt or tap mechanic, requiring quite a bit of dexterity and skill to land precision jumps, but at the end of the day we know what these games are about. They’re about high scores and quick games that keep you coming back for more. Trees of Doom definitely delivers on this, and looks great to boot. If you liked Doodle Jump and other see-how-high-you-can-go games, and you like Ninjas (who doesn’t) then this is definitely a worthwhile pickup.

App Store Link: Ninjatown: Trees of Doom!, $1.99.