Ninjas to videogames are like chocolate to milk – adding one to the other makes an awesome treat. The ninjas of Shawnimals world have already starred in a tower-defense inspired DS game but now one of those masters of martial ways has quite literally leapt onto the iPhone with Ninjatown: Trees of Doom. A charming little app that does a lot of things right for a handheld game and doesn’t cost the earth.
Ninjatown: Trees of Doom is a very simple climbing game where you guide a wee ninja up two parallel trees by jumping between the two. Tapping either the left or right half of the screen initiates the jump or just holding down makes little ninja shimmy up the trunk. Points are awarded the higher little ninja climbs but hanging in the way of that high score are a number of obstacles that will send you crashing to the ground if you foolishly touch them. A very simple and addictive idea that adds an interesting twist to the genre of climbers. You can very quickly gain a lot of height from simply jumping back and forth or using the aids and power-ups along the way. Branches and springy mushrooms extend from the tree trunks, launching you higher than a standard jump. These are best used to jump over obstructions like a track of purple goo, bare slippery tree bark or Wee Devils and other enemies of the ninja. Placement of said hinderances appeared to be random since each time I played felt like a new set of trees to climb as if part of an exceptionally tall forest. Power-ups float between the tress and enable you to do such things as slow time of teleport to a higher location.
Being a Shawnimals production, the whole thing is gloriously cute to look at with some visual niceties to spur you along your journey. Like how the background between the trunks dynamically changes the further you ascend revealing more of Ninjatown and its tiny inhabitants. If you climb for long enough, day soon becomes night, then back to day again adding an entertaining variety of peripheral decorations.
Ninjatown: Trees of Doom is another game that could work on a different platform but does so perfectly on the iPhone. My utterly minor issues with it were down to how I played and not through any fault of the game itself. The randomness of scenarios and desire to get that all important high score on the Plus+ leaderboard (included in the game) will soak up much of your coffee breaks and lunch hours. For £1.19, I’d say that’s a bargain.
A highly commendable game with some truly exceptional moments.