System(s): Nintendo DS
Release Date: October 28, 2008
Publisher (Developer): SouthPeak Games (Venan Entertainment and Cashmere Productions)
ESRB Rating: “Everyone” for Crude Humor and Mild Cartoon Violence
Pros: Incredibly clever writer, unique art style, great game-play, wonderful characters and lots of options to win each level. Also it comes with a Ninjatown window cling!
Cons: Later levels can get challenging and Master Ninja microphone activated powers are annoying.
Overall Score: Two thumbs up, 95/100, A, **** 1/2 out of 5
I can’t get enough of Ninjatown. Even when I had to replay “The Loop” level in the Business District three times, because the various business devils kept speeding through my defenses, I still couldn’t bring myself to get annoyed with this incredibly charming and funny tower-defense strategic RPG based on the Shawnimal toys.
Ninjatown may not be perfect, but it sure comes close. It is delightfully challenging, has a clever script, adorable characters, lots of unit options and special abilities which can single-handedly turn the tides of battle. If it weren’t for the occasionally frustrating Ol’ Master Ninja powers, Ninjatown would easily have earned a perfect score.
Shock! Mr. Demon is after Ninjatown’s secret cookie recipe!
Ninjatown focuses on Ninjatown, a quaint little city filled with various ninjas. Ninjatown is famous for its shurikan ninja cookies, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by Mr. Demon, who lives in the nearby Dark Forest with his Wee Devils and other minions. One day, he decides to invade Ninjatown to take the cookie recipe from them. The Mayor charges Master Ninja with protecting the town and repelling wave after wave of devils.
The player must then go through different areas of Ninjatown, protecting them from Mr. Demon’s minions. This means building ninja huts for fighters like Wee Ninja, Anti-Ninja, Business Ninja and Forest Ninja. Once a hut is built, two ninjas will emerge, ready to fight. You can also upgrade each hut, to make the ninjas even more formidable fighters.
Deceptively cute and totally original tower-defense title.
Only one thing about Ninjatown bothered me – the implementation of the special abilities. The Ol’ Master Ninja powers, though incredibly helpful, can be incredibly annoying as well. Two of them require you to blow or yell into the microphone to activate it. Since everything else uses the touch screen, it can throw you off. Another quirk is that, after touching a power, it doesn’t automatically select it. You have to tap the power, then tap a confirmation icon. Time is precious in Ninjatown, and it would be much easier to have to tap once.
Other than that, its wonderful. You can replay levels to try and get a higher ranking, see if a different strategy would work better or earn extra special character tokens. There are loads of different kinds of ninjas you can deploy, each with their own special abilities. The enemies actually seem like they have some intelligence, forging past ninjas to try to reach their destination. There is a lot of variety when it comes to the different maps, so you won’t feel like you’re using the same strategy to win each level. Plus, you can play Ninjatown against a friend in single or multi-card multiplayer, where players can prove who is the best at protecting the town.
It also is one of the more stylish DS titles I’ve seen. It doesn’t have incredibly fancy 3D graphics, or detailed character sprites, and yet Ninjatown stands out. The silent-movie cartoon segments, detailing the ongoing plight of the ninjas as they struggle to protect the cookie recipe from Mr. Demon, are also a delight to watch. It also has a wonderfully clever script, filled with truly witty and humorous asides and jokes. Its delightful.
Ninjatown ninjas will beat pirates any day of the week.
Don’t be deceived by its cute and cuddly exterior – Ninjatown is a complex, challenging and charming tower-defense title. Any strategy fan would be pleasantly surprised by this game. It will definitely become a cult classic in years to come.