Go Ninja! - Not just another Ninja game

There are plenty of ninja themed games on the app store, and today we are talking about another ninja themed game. So what is so special about this?

The way the game industry is changing, a lot of traditional game developers are moving over to the mobile platforms. One such studio that has opened up for the sole purpose of high production value games for the mobile platforms is Hiptic games. This is a venture between Long Vo and George Deglin. Long Vo has been known in the games industry for the last decade or so with his experience in Art Direction, Creative and Production on various apps like Street Fighter, X-Men, Inception, Tatsunoko VS Capcom, Robotech to mention a few. This is a good slick presentation and a good launching board for hiptic to show their work and establish themselves.

The Good
The game has a very immersive feel, with the graphics that nearly pop out and the animations that look amazing. These are hand-drawn in the lovely art by Long Vo.

The game runs quite smooth and is available for both the iPhone and Android. The game will be available for free on the app store and there are a couple of in-app purchase items. These include things like visors, that help improve the speed of the ninja and some special abilities. The items can be purchased using NP's Ninja Points. Ninja points are available as 8000 for $0.99, 60,000 for $4.99 and 200,000 for $9.99. Ninja Points are earned by playing the game and are awarded based on the distance covered. To upgrade the visor, the first upgrade starts at 10,000 so in essence, if you do want all the cool features that are available, then you will need to play the game obscene number of times to get the first upgrade or take the shortcut out (purchase some points)

The Plot
The game is like most of the runner games where the character keeps running on a fixed environment for that level (if you have played one sufficiently long you know when and where the obstacles are) however there is a bit of randomness, which makes it a bit more challenging and fun. The interaction that you have with the character is tap to jump and swipe up to go up, swipe down to return back down. The background is made up of houses, you the player character can swipe up to the rooftops of these Japanese homes and then swipe back down back onto the ground. There are samurai guards that you need to run into to kill, then there are decoy Samurais, land mines which are bombs and will blow up on contact, so steer clear of these by jumping over them. The controls are easy to use (when they do not play up)
There is also another little feature that is not evident, there are some soldiers that are seen as silhouettes in the windows these can also be killed, so unless you are very very very good, getting all of the soldiers is near impossible.

The Bad
It was rather difficult to find if there was anything that was bad with the app. However there are a few concerns, the minimum pack of Ninja Points are 8000 for $0.99 this is practically useless. This seems like the ideal ploy from console game manufacturers, that sell packs for $9.99 and when you consume points/value, you use $9.00 and there is always some amount that remains on your card/account and then to be able to use it, you need another card and you are hooked. The Jump upgrade costs 4000 and the Special Upgrade2 and Special Upgrade2 cost 5000 each and the wallpapers are 2500 each. So the 8000 points are just short of purchasing two useful items together. This could have been 9000 and that would have allowed for the 4000 + 5000 or 4000 + 2500 + 2500. Having said that, it seems that they might get the 4000 + 2500 kind of sales and then users purchase more Ninja Points.
There was another small issue, though the animation and the game play was amazing, there was a slight problem in the app registering the touch. Even with the on screen menus, there is an X on the top right hand corner, this does not register a touch everytime. This is not such a big concern, but while playing the game, when the ninja does not react to the swipe and simply makes a jump, you lose a life and the game ends there. A tad frustrating, this is easily explainable by the fact that swipes are not easily recognised in CoronaSDK and can register as a tap instead.
Another minor issue that was noticed was the app does not go to the background, instead it is started everytime. Also that if you switched the mobile device off with the app on, you lose the background sound on the main screen.

The Verdict
The game is Free and will be available on the app store from 1st of June, The game relies on in-app purchases, if you are serious about playing this game, you will have to either spend hours trying to get some Ninja Points or purchase them from the in-App purchases. If you are a fan of ninja themed games or a fan of the runner genre, then this game is definitely for you, if this is not your type of game, it is still free and you can download a copy to play. However I must admit that MegaRun, the latest app from the makers of MegaJump is also a runner genre and if these games are compared, both of them have the quality of a top notch commercial titles, still MegaRun wins hands down. There are about 3 soldiers and a couple of items to avoid, so thankfully the background scrolls and changes, The animations are quite extensive. It would help with adding variety in the soldiers that you need to fight or avoid.

The game has the polished look and feel of a commercial app, the experience that Long Vo has in the game Industry is showing. The app contains some lovely art by artists from Udon Entertainment (like Jim Zubkavich, Eroc Vedder, and others) in the form of wallpapers for the device. The game is free but to be able to play objectively, you need to get Ninja Points and getting those many seems a bit of a problem, the easiest solution to that is to buy some Ninja Points. So if you are serious about the game, you will have to shell out a bit. The idea is not the most original, but the art is most impressive.

Software : Go Ninja
Version : 1.0
Publisher : HipTic games
Website : http://www.hiptic.com
Twitter : @hiptic
Platform : iOS and Android
Price : $FREE

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