Humorous, fast paced and frustratingly addictive 10 Second Ninja X is an arcade platformer by independent studio Four Circle Interactive featuring, well, a ninja that has 10 seconds to complete each stage. Armed with a sword and ninja stars you will slash your way through robots, ricochet perfectly timed shots and grapple hook your way to freedom with occasional interludes of swearing and tantrums.
The game begins whereby a pirate has taken you captive aboard his ship and you are tasked with beating his levels in under 10 seconds in order to leave his ship. Sounds easy enough? Wrong. If you want to progress to the next set of levels you have to reach a certain amount of stars, meaning that the faster you complete a level the more stars you get. This is where both the joy and agony stems in this brilliant platformer, I’ve rage quit on multiple occasions only to return seconds later to try my luck a third, fourth time. Once you finally 100 percent ‘complete’ the level you have a couple of seconds of satisfaction seeing those three stars float up before it begins all over again – rinse and repeat.
The storyline is funny, short and sweet with a nice little twist – you can tell the creator had a fun time writing the ridiculous progression of events. It really feels like it ties in the game with an extra something in between stages. However at the end of the day, the game’s focus isn’t about the complexity or brilliance of the plotline, it’s about getting back to the jumping and slicing as quickly as possible – but it’s always cool to see that a decent amount of effort was put into the story, making the game just a bit more special.
When it comes to gameplay the only real comparison I can give it is the pace of Super Meat Boy, your joystick to pad ratio has to be on form and timing your jumps is essential. It is a perfect balance of challenge and fun in the short space of time the game provides – and if you want to grab that extra star you have to be willing to rethink your strategy and shave off those extra milliseconds in order grab that next unlock, which brings me to replayability.
10 Second Ninja X hangs onto replayability with a grip firmer than your girlfriend’s dad. The game boasts 60 original levels and bunch more once you finish those levels. There are also loads of unlocks such as costumes, a marathon mode, secret levels and an arcade game making that small voice whispering “just one more…” a whole lot louder.
The level design is superbly constructed easing the player into more and more challenging levels. Each new set of levels introduces a new environmental variable into the equation such as reflecting beams or levers, making players gawk at the screen wondering, “How the hell do they expect me to complete this in under 10 seconds?”. It’s always fun to see how in a matter of a few attempts you already become fluid with the level and freely try out new strategies.
If you have a friend who has a perfection complex and a tendency to easily destroy things out of frustration I would definitely recommend you buy him/her this game and live stream it (make sure you mail me the link) otherwise sit back and enjoy a massive amount of fun and replayability at a neat price of $9.99 / €9.99 / £7.99.
Disclosure: Review code for the game was provided by the developer.