It seems as if ninjas have decided to shrug off that centuries old image of being silent warriors skilled at sticking to the shadows and going undetected, because the little blighters are cropping up all over the App Store lately. The latest iPhone game to deck out its central character in the iconic shinobi shozoku and break cover is JellyOasis’ Ninja Bounce (out now, $0.99), a fast paced and fun rhythm-based adventure.
Geared toward the casual gamer, Ninja Bounce’s simplepremise is very easily grasped: as the titular hero automatically dashes through a series of vibrant sidescrolling levels, an out of control fire hot on his heels, what you’ve got to do is try to stay one step ahead of the blaze by bounding quickly along a succession of environmental objects.
This is achieved by stabbing an action button with your finger at precisely the same moment little ninja lands on on platform in order to catapult him quickly onto the next. Well-timed jumps are rewarded with gold coins and a better overall score, while messing up means those deadly flames gain ground!
Now, this might not sound like the most challenging of tasks, but believe you me, as you traverse the game’s trio of visually stunning settings (a forest, an ancient temple and a very choppy ocean) and two different modes (‘Challenge’ and ‘Time Attack’) ninja-like reflexes and a decent sense of rhythm are essential as JellyOasis crank the action up to an almost dizzying speed.
As accessible as it is and as exciting as it gets, Ninja Bounce’s gameplay isn’t all thatdeep or sophisticated and doesstart togeta bit repetitive after a few goes. That said, a commendably intuitive set of controls, an irresistible beat-your-best-score allure and the sumptuous oriental art-inspired visuals mean it’s a blast when played in short bursts, and I can see myself firing up this little beauty time and time again.
iFanzine Verdict: Looking for a fantastically fun game to help while away a spare 5 minutes here and there? Look no further; Ninja Bounce’s killer combination of pick-up-and-play accessibility and visuals sharp enough to take out your eye make it a terrific little time waster.