Throwing controllers like they were Shuriken.
The biggest challenge I faced playing 10 Second Ninja was keeping my controller in one piece. Frustration abound, this game revels in it’s difficulty and dares you to do better.
Imagine Super Meat Boy, if it was governed by an incredibly tight time limit, and you’ll have a pretty good idea what you’re letting yourself in for. With 100 levels that test your brains as much as your reflexes, 10 Second Ninja requires the player to think about a level and then execute the perfect run.
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4 (reviewed), PS Vita, Xbox One
The premise is simple; guide our gallant Ninja through each of the one screen levels. There is no exit to reach and all he is armed with is a sword, three shurikens and a double jump ability. In order to complete the level, it must be cleared of enemy robots with either the sword or throwing stars. But with only 10 seconds to do it, planning is key. Finding the quickest way to complete each level will require several attempts. Luckily, a quick press of the L1 or R1 button will restart the level, and the timer doesn’t start until you make your first move; allowing time to study the level and make the necessary changes needed to shave valuable seconds of the time. I say valuable, as the quicker the level is completed, the more stars (out of three) are earned. And these stars must be obtained to unlock the next tier of levels.
Controls are pretty tight here; with only the square and circle buttons in play for the combat. The jumping is solid, although it will test players in later levels, which are filled with various defenses that need pin-point accuracy in order to navigate. But the real kicker here is that I found it far too difficult to earn the required stars needed to progress. Completing the levels are challenging enough, but in order to get three stars, near perfect action is required. This resulted in me trying each levels countless times, just trying to take a few milliseconds off of my previous best time. If I made the tiniest of mistakes and I had to restart. There is fun in trying to find the best path and actions to take, but the fun dries up when it becomes seemingly impossible to complete the level in perfect time. I would have much preferred a system that unlocked the next level just by completing the last; as its easy enough to go back and try and beat your score for fun and bragging rights.
The presentation is also designed to aid the player. There are no flashy graphics here; just crisp clean environments that allow for total concentration on the job in hand. It also means that the game suffers from zero lag; crucial for the demanding nature of the game.
10 Second Ninja is certainly well designed from a gameplay standpoint, but misses out on being great through the shear difficulty of it. But if you enjoy a real tough challenge, and if your reflexes are sharper than mine, then it might be worth a shot.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.