Ninja Town

   02/12/2008 at 13:33       Phil May       6 COMMENTS. - Score 4/5
Black-Pyjama'd ass-kickers

If there's one game type that seems tailor-made for the DS, it's Tower Defence strategy titles. If you've not played a Tower Defence game before, the basic idea was ripped wholesale from the Warcraft idea of building multiple defensive structures to cut down wave after wave of attacking nasties.

Venan Entertainment have combined the basic idea with possibly the coolest character type on the planet after pirates - Ninjas. These little jumpsuited hooded ass-kickers are your units of mass destruction in NinjaTown, a town ravaged by Mr Demon and his terrible cohorts.

The game begins with a simple level to test your mettle, and introduce you to the concept of building Ninja-infested huts along the main attack route. The first two types of Ninja (Your bog-standard black-clad warrior and the fearsome Anti-Ninja, who is actually nothing of the sort) can be deployed, and you can also upgrade your huts to offer more effective defences when the battle hots up.

Grabba the Hut

Each of the available building slots can be occupied by a particular type of Ninja Hut. Highlight a slot, and tap it to begin construction. Choose the type of Ninja you want to deploy and then start building. Once your Ninja builders have finished, you can then further tweak your hut with upgrades and set the range / waypoint for your Ninjas to roam to.

Once the warning sounds, and you get a message that attackers are on the way, your Ninja army will automatically be despatched to kick the living daylights out of Mr Demon's smelly old monsters.

At first the waves are quite infrequent but after a while you'll have to be a bit more canny about hut placement and Ninja deployment in order to stop the monsters in their tracks.

Control wise, more or less everything's neatly handled by the stylus with some additional control stuff accessed through a bit of mike-blowing (careful matron) so despite the undercurrent of chopsocky violence, it's actually not a bad little game for youngsters to cut their strategic teeth on.

The town's elder, Old Master Ninja comes in handy as the levels progress, allowing the player to unlock various extra talents and moves so that Ninjas become more combat effective and can handle some of the later and nastier demons.

The in-game currency (Ninja Cookies) must be used more effectively later in the game as they become more limited, so careful placing of your huts and accompanying support structures (like Dojos and refreshment houses) will reap better rewards.

At the start of most levels, you'll be introduced to a new Ninja type (including the awesome snowball-chucking white Ninjas) which starts to give the title some legs, particularly if you're into short sharp sessions of portable gaming.

Each game world unlocks more as you progress so it will take a while to see everything. The only real criticism is that for the first few levels, the game will feel a little repetitive and it takes a fair amount of patience to see some of the later and more impressive Ninja types.

All told, it's a cute little portable Tower Defence derivative that's nicely presented and has a fairly broad appeal, whether you're a manic stats-mangler or just someone who fancies something a little more strategic and puzzley.

If you're a fan of titles like PixelJunk Monsters or the various Flash-based Tower Defence derivatives then you'll be at home here, and may even find a bit of neat extra stuff (in the form of the in-game bonuses and tokens) to keep you playing this long past your bus stop.
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