*DISCLAIMER: ALL VIEWS IN THIS REVIEW ARE MY OWN AND DO NOT COME FROM THE COMPANY THAT HAS KINDLY PROVIDED THE GAME*
10 Second Ninja X is, "a hardcore sidescroller. You're a ninja, there are robots, you've got ten seconds to destroy them all. Get three star ratings, climb leaderboards, discover secrets and stop Captain Greatbeard." - Steam page
This intense platformer is a HD remaster for the game, you guessed it, 10 Second Ninja. 10 Second Ninja was originally released on Steam on the 5th March 2014. It received great reviews from critics and currently has a, "Very Positive", on the steam store with 87% of 551 players who submitted a review, rating is positive. This was obviously enough incentive for the team at Four Circle Interactive to create a HD remaster for their game. The game will be released on the 19th July 2016 and will feature 100 levels including all 40 original levels from the first game remastered in HD.
The story follows a mute ninja who is kidnapped by the captain of a floating ship called, "Captain Greatbeard". You must go through all of his challengers to rescue your friends. In the challengers, you must kill of the robots in the level in less than 10 seconds. On the ship you encounter various NPC's including; Kat (In charge of recreation), Benji (Ship Mechanic), Natalie (Wardrobe Dept.), The AI and a fitness guy who I don't know the name of. These NPC's offer advice and Kat has her own mini-game called Kat's Crate Smash.
The gameplay is a fast-paced puzzle platformer which requires you to kill all of the robots in less than 10 seconds. Depending on your time at the end, you will receive up to 3 stars per level. To gain access to the next set of levels, you must collect a certain amount of stars.
The hub world is where you will find all of the NPC's and where you will access all of the levels of the game. In the hub-world there a various rooms that you can access throughout the ship;
- Greatbeard Arcade: Where you will find Kat and play her mini-game
- Generator Room: Where you will find Benji
- Engine Room: The original levels are locked of here
- Costume Dept: Where you will find Natalie and change costume
In the Greatbeard Arcade, there is a machine that requires a disk to play. This disk has been broken and so a collectable is born. Pieces of this disk are scattered around the hub-world and it is up to you to find it. Also in the room, you can play Kat's game. This game basically makes you observe many boxes. One box is the correct box and as the boxes move around the screen you must keep track of which is the right box. It's a relatively easy game and most players wouldn't bother with it. However, it gives you, "tokens", which can be spent on hints on the actual levels of the game so they could come in handy.
There is no voice acting in this game, however text is displayed for speech. Most text speech in games is there to tell the narrative of the story, but in 10 Second Ninja X, every bit of speech in the game is encased with comedy. This comedy really made this game for me. Of course you have the actual game to enjoy, but the fact that the developers put in the time to create the hub-world actually funny makes the game a lot better in my opinion. From the quick little remarks from Captain Greatbeard to the infuriated AI who is angry at the fact that his browser has 87 tabs open all with beard products in them.
The hub-world is filled with lots of secrets for the player to discover, these range from little rooms where you can find some of the disk for the Greatbeard Arcade to clever little areas in which you think you'll break the game, but instead the game knows what you're trying to do and throws it right back at you with full comedic force.
All in all, I believe that this hub-world is beautifully designed and the text speech of the NPC's is wonderfully crafted to create a genuinely funny experience that is separate to the actual game.
The actual game is comprised of 100 levels in which you need to destroy all of the robots in as little time as possible. In every level you are equipped with only 3 shurikens. These shurikens can go through as many one hit enemies are they want as long as the enemies are all in a straight line. In the game you encounter a range of different enemies including;
- Robot: These are the default enemies that take 1 hit to defeat
- Armored Robot: These enemies take 2 hits to defeat
- Shielded Robot: These enemies require a shuriken to defeat
The mix of enemies results in each level being quite hard to complete as you'll either run out of shurikens and then realise that there is a shielded robot still alive, or completely forget about one the robots. I think that this makes the game a lot more enjoyable, because instead of simply killing the same enemies in different locations, you need to work out the most efficient route in which you should take to get the best time.
To help you with this the developers have given the player a camera at the start of the level where you can look around the level and work out your route. This means that the time doesn't start until you actually make a move. This makes the game more fluid and more precise in my opinion. The levels are also incredibly easy to reset as all you have to do is press the [ENTER] key once and the level will instantly restart; the [R] key also works.
After completing each stage, you are given stars depending on your time. To achieve 3 stars is genuinely difficult unlike other games where 3 stars is only slightly hard to get. This makes the game infuriating at times as you may be only 0.05 seconds of 3 stars and the run that got you that time was the best run you had ever done. This in total, makes the game incredibly hard for a completionist as to get 100% in this game, you have to require some serious skill.
As this is a remaster, the quality of this game has vastly improved since the original game. The levels and enemies are no longer pixel art and are instead smooth pieces of design that make the game quite appealing to the eye. The animations of your character are also very fluid and result in better experience for the player. However, I think that the game would benefit if the enemies had different textures for the different sets of levels as the location changes and I think that the enemies skins should change depending on the location.
The music in this game is high quality and does come with a wide range of tracks. To be precise, each set of levels in this game is accompanied by a different theme that repeats over and over... The repetition can get a bit annoying, because you die a lot in this game and so the music will keep on going forever until you reach the next set of levels. That being said, for the game that it is, I didn't expect 200 tracks that alternated every time you died.
All in all, I would describe this game in 2 words. Passion Project; because that's what it is. The amount of detail and humour in the script really shows this; and at the end of the day, the game is better because of it. Though the story is simple and the mechanics in the game are easy to grasp, the execution of these things are very well achieved and for that reason, I will keep on coming back to this game until I have achieved 3 stars on every level. Either that, or I completely destroy my computer whilst trying to do so.
|Story||Short and sweet, keeps the pace of the game and is very funny at times.||A bit unnecessary as you mainly forget the story after playing for a bit.|
|Gameplay||Smooth, intuitive controls that feel like every movement is well placed.||I would rebind the sword and shurikens as I kept on pressing the wrong one.|
|Quality||A lot nicer compared to the original game with smooth graphics instead of pixels.||Could benefit from different textured enemies are they get a bit boring.|
|Music/Sound||One track per set of levels which are high-quality and the effects are also good.||The track can get repetitive, but it's not much of a problem.|
Review by Sam Elliott
10 Second Ninja X is available now for PS4, Xbox One, PC and PS Vita for, $9.99. Thank you to Four Circle Interactive, Curve Digital and Premier for supplying the game and assets used in this review. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.