Ninja are supposed to be fleet of foot. They dance through the shadows, hurling pointy things at unsuspecting assassination targets before disappearing over the rooftops, leaving only a corpse to show they were ever there.

Ninjas - Stolen Scrolls doesn't really get any of that right. The ninjas here are hampered by clunky controls and an over abundance of enemies.

There's fun to be had, but the ninja veneer could be replaced with pretty much any sword-wielding denizen of the ancient world and the effect would be the same.

Hack and swipe

The game casts you as one of four warriors out to avenge the murder of their master and retrieve the scrolls that have been stolen from your sacred monastery. To do this you have to kill an awful lot of people.

Tapping on the left of the screen unleashes a combo of blows to the left, and tapping on the right hits things to the right. You move around the screen by swiping, and hurl special powers and throwing stars with buttons at the bottom of the screen.

Movement is the big bugbear. It's fine when you're moving in a straight line, but the bad guys attack from all directions, and the swipey controls just aren't that good at precision. So sometimes you're wafting your fists at the air while the pretty smart bad guys wait patiently to surround you.

There's a lack of polish to the game as well. The sprites look great, but the menus and backgrounds all feel a bit drab.

You collect gold as you fight, as well as XP. These can be spent on upgrading your weapons, and toughening up your ninja. Progress is pretty slow, but it's nice when you earn enough money to buy a new implement of slaughter.

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Ninjas - Stolen Scrolls isn't a bad game - it just feels a little underdone. A better control scheme would lift it up considerably, and even now there's a good deal of simple, chunky violence to be had in its multitude of levels.

As it stands, Ninjas - Stolen Scrolls is a little too lacking in some important areas to wholeheartedly recommend. It's fun, but it's not quite as fun as it should be.