by Professor Layton
reviewed on NDS
Welcome to Ninjatown!
During each holiday season, gamers are attacked by a tsunami of titles, both good and bad. Some of the more hyped titles are usually must-have games for most gamers, as are games in long-running franchises. Hidden in among all the hyped products are a couple of games that struggle to gain attention. One of those games this holiday is Ninjatown, a Tower Defense-style game. Due to the game’s adorable graphics, most gamers would think this is a game for young children. Little do they know, Ninjatown actually offers a fair amount of challenge and depth.
Ninjatown was once a peaceful and serene community, populated by adorable ninjas. After the neighboring volcano, Mount Feroshi, erupts the town gets invaded by monsters and their leader, Mr. Demon. Players take control of Ol’ Master Ninja as he orders ninjas to build defenses to stop the evil creatures. Ninjas in the town take self-defense as soon as they grow out of their diapers so that they will be skilled when they become adults. You know, being surrounded by a volcano and an evil forest isn’t all that great.
Guide Ninjatown to safety!
The game plays just as you would expect it; evil monsters are invading Ninjatown in waves and your goal is to stop their rampage before they reach your base. By defeating enemies, players gain cookies, the currency in the game, which can be used to build additional Ninja huts. The invasions usually only last ten minutes which is ideal for a portable game.
At the beginning of each level, the game informs you how many monsters will try and invade the town and how many you must stop in order to progress to the next level. To stop them, players built huts where Ninjas come out and attack the monsters in an effort to halt their progress of reaching the opposite side of town. It is certainly a unique concept and it works well throughout the game.
The first few levels are a breeze seeing as they have very few roads and enemies tend to stick to roads as their path to the base. As players climb through the levels, more roads appear, meaning more ways for the monsters to reach the base. Besides this, each level also introduces a new Ninja. Each class of Ninja comes with its own strengths and weaknesses which is where a layer of strategy comes into play.
Ninjas to the rescue
Different enemies require different techniques for defeating them. Since different types of Ninjas disperse from different huts, so you will need to think about where to build a hut before you do so. Sniper Ninjas for example are good at taking down aerial enemies but aren’t too good at destroying ground enemies. By building a wide variety of huts in the same area, the Ninjas will start working together to take down the monsters.
Ninja huts can also be upgraded to boost the stats of your soldiers. The level of each building is indicated by the number of stars shown on its doorstep. In order to slay off all the enemies, upgrading your huts will be mandatory.
Get out of Ninjatown
Throughout various parts of the game, you will more than likely find yourself in sticky situations. That is where Ol’ Master Ninja comes in. Despite his old age, he does have a few techniques he assists you with. For starters, one of his tricks, “Hickory Lunge”, allows you to tap on enemies to remove them from play. Another one of his tricks, “Get off my lawn!” allows players to blow in the DS’ microphone to blow enemies away. It is a nice touch that certainly helps those in dire situations.
While the touch screen is used to its fullest, the upper screen isn’t. The touch screen essentially allows players to navigate menus and get a zoomed-in look at the playing field while the top screen displays an overall look at an area and a view of Ol’ Master Ninja floating in the sky. It would have been nice to have it used more seeing as Ol’ Master Nina is usually floating around in his balloon doing nothing.
Thank you for visiting Ninjatown. Please come again soon!
Every holiday season a handful of amazing games somehow manage to sink into obscurity and the way I see things at the moment, Ninjatown is going to be one of them this year. The amount of enjoyment the game provides is exceptionally high, as is the replay value. The game pioneered into new territory on the DS and it is at least worth renting. If you are only buying one DS game this holiday season, this should be the one. Don’t you want to come back and visit these Ninjas when their land is peaceful again?
No Pros and Cons at this time