by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on NDS
Ninjatown is situated in something of a bad spot. Well, we assume it is a bad spot because it can’t be fun to live with an active volcano called Mount Feroshi on one side and an evil-ridden forest called The Dark Forest on the other.
Fortunately Ninjatown kids take self-defense classes as soon as they are out of their diapers. They are skilled Ninjas even before they come of age. This is a good thing as evil-doers are threatening to overrun the town. It is your job to give the Ninjas the strategic guidance that they need to save their town from destruction.
Playing this game is fairly straightforward, or at least it appears to be that way when you get started. It plays a lot like a Tower Defense game: your basic goal is to stop evil characters from passing through your town and reaching your Ninja base. Upon entering a new level, the game will tell you how many enemies will try to pass through and how many of them you are required to stop from reaching the exit to successfully reach the next level. To do this, you simply place Ninja huts along their path. From these huts, Ninjas will turn up and fight the many Wee Devils and other crazy characters that try to reach the other side of town.
This sounds straightforward enough, especially when you consider that your enemies prefer to stick to the roads. In early levels, a single road runs through your town and there are no guesses as to which path they will take. In later levels, roads branch and fork and the strategic placement of huts becomes far more important.
Additionally, different enemies require a different approach to defeating them and with each wave that the game throws at you, enemies become harder to defeat. Luckily, for every enemy measure there exists a Ninja counter measure. Different types of Ninjas sprout from different types of huts. Some huts house your average run of the mill Ninja that is fast but not particularly strong. Others contain sniper Ninjas that have a long-range attack or Anti-Ninjas that are slow but pack a mean punch. By placing a combination of these huts in the same area, the different Ninjas start working together. This way they are able to deal with every possible type of enemy and become stronger as a whole.
When things become too hot for you to handle, Master Ninja may be able to help out. The old geezer might be too old too fight but he does have a few tricks up his sleeve. His first trick is called “Get off my lawn!” which lets you literally blow your enemies away by blowing into the DS microphone. The second trick is called “Hickory Lunge”. It lets you kill your enemies by tapping at them on the DS touch screen.
For every enemy that you defeat you are given Ninja Cookies. These can be used to purchase new huts or upgrade existing ones. An upgraded hut can give you some serious bonuses, adding to your accuracy, firing range, speed and damage potential. In later levels, you are also able to build support buildings that give bonuses to all Ninjas within their radius.
Ninjatown DS is one of those likeable games that attract a huge crowd on its cute factor alone. But this fun little game has more going for it than cute little Ninjas and a funky name. The placement of huts and support buildings seems a bit arbitrary at first but before long you’ll be working up a sweat trying to think up the right combinations to deal with the next wave of enemies coming up. Things can get quite hectic at times and the later levels are by no means easy. If you are looking for a frantic, fun-filled DS game and love cute Ninjas (and who doesn’t!), then this is one game you don’t want to miss.