Space Ninjas (out now, $0.99) opens with appealing anime-styled cartoon images to illustrate a bit of a story, which actually doesn’t come across that clearly. Reading the game description helped a lot more.
Basically, an evil reptile named Nibiru, who’s located on the moon, is trying to decimate humans on Earth after failing to wreck the world economy. His attacks come in the form of raining meteors. You, as one of the “space ninjas”, have to protect Earth by deflecting the oncoming projectiles. You’ll achieve this by flicking them away with your finger.
Finger. One finger. Multi-touch gestures (multiple swipes) do not work. This is the biggest reason why this game is a letdown. It follows that there’s no combo score system, which can make an otherwise simple game addictively fun. To make it worse, the game feels unresponsive. As more and more meteors rain down, the game seemed to have more difficulty registering my touch. The smallest meteors are supposed to move off with one flick, but sometimes it would take two or more flicks to get them to move, as if the game couldn’t cope with my speed (which was not fast because the game didn’t allow me to be fast). For a game with ninja in the title, it’s awfully sluggish.
In case it isn’t already clear, the meteors come in different sizes. Medium ones require two flicks to move (theoretically), while the largest “extinction” meteors must be smashed with another smaller meteor. Through gaining higher scores you can unlock various upgrades. This includes slowing down meteors as they approach the ground and shooting lasers from satellites. You’re given three lives, and you’ll lose one life each time a meteor strikes anything, be it the ground or a satellite.
The graphics in the actual game also don’t look as attractive as the opening cartoon scenes, but that’s not why Space Ninjas disappoints.
iFanzine Verdict: Space Ninjas isn’t as fun as it could be due to its lack of multi-touch gestures. In addition, the gameplay feels sluggish and terribly repetitive. If you like simple swipe or flick games, there are much better ones out there.