Call of the Ninja is a strategic puzzle game that has you trying to guide a line of ninja to a dojo that's at the other end of the level. Sounds easy does it not? No, it is not, there are obstacles trying to stop all the ninja from getting to the dojo. You'll find that you have to jump over pits, walk over water, climb walls, avoid ninja-eating man eating plants, and even avoid towers that want to blow up your ninja with exploding cannon balls, that's just to name a few. How on Earth will you help your group of ninja to get to the dojo? You can help them by strategically placing little bubbles on the field and they will trigger an action for your ninja. Can you help your ninja make it to the dojo? (Click "Read More" to read the full review).
The concept of this game is defiantly not an original one as we have seen this style of game back in the day with "Lemmings (1991)" but this game concept is one that surprisingly hasn't been done much and so it still feels fresh and also very welcomed. Placing an action at the start of a level will signal the ninja to go on the run and this also leads to frustration with certain levels when playing with a mouse. The reason why is due to the ninja moving so fast to where you will have a hard time going down to the action selection bar and dragging the action to the right spot in time. Thank goodness at the start of the level you can place down actions by using the number keys.
The number keys will save a lot of time and will also help to make more precise moves but you can only do that if you have actions available in the action selection bar. Once the actions are on the stage and you are out of them in the action selection bar then you must use the mouse to move them around but that's not as frustrating as it sounds. If you see your ninja going down the wrong path that will lead them to their destruction, you can just click on them and they will teleport back to the start of the level and boy does that feature help as I found myself having to do that quite a few times. You also don't have to get every ninja to the end of the level but you must get a certain amount of ninja to safety to clear a level with succession.
The difficulty is as expected, this game starts off easy and gets harder as it goes along and this game does get very hard. The harder levels will require you to use your brain to come up with more complex ways to beat a level and so the casual video game player will get frustrated very quickly. To make the game even more tricky, there are some levels that have collectibles thus giving you the need to come up with alternate ways to beat a level to truly beat this game one-hundred percent.
As you can see, the gameplay is simple to learn but very difficult to master and I did have some fun with this game and still do every time I play it. If you are not into difficult games, this game is sadly not for you. I did really like that the actions and controls in this game are very tight to where you can not blame the game for if you make a mistake trying to beat a level. This is also not a game that you will have long sittings in as you'll find yourself playing this game in short bursts like while on a coffee break, or for a quick game to play if you don't have much time, or waiting for a loved one to finish their long boring chat about what they did that day (that one was a half joke). Once you have beaten a level, you will find very little reason to replay them and thus there isn't much replay value. This game does also have a level editor but I didn't find it to be very fun as the level editor wasn't very stable and often crashed on me thus leading to something more frustrating than any challenge found in this game.
The artwork for this game isn't the most prettiest thing you will ever see in a video game and it might turn off some people just by looking at the screenshots alone. The designs for the characters and locations are quite simple but effective as you will be able to make out what is going on very well, even if there's a level with obstacles (plants, trees, ETC.) in the foreground as you can get a good idea of what is going on behind those obstacles. The animation is smooth but when it is mixed in with the art you will be laughing, not because it looks bad or anything but it is because the animation makes the ninja look so darn cute. The music uses an Asian themed soundtrack with some electronic styled music mixed in and it worked with the game but did also sound quite generic with nothing special about it.
Overall this isn't a bad game but it is also not the greatest game you will ever play but this is still a game that's worth giving a go. It is very nice to see that the Lemmings style of game is still alive and kicking to this very day. Good but not great.
Game: Call of the Ninja!
Developer: Lee Page
Publisher: TeraBit Software
Price: $6.99 (Steam)