Neenya Ninja: To the Rescue

You might not have heard of Neenya the Ninja. She's not quite up there in terms of popularity with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Naruto, but she's already featured in one mobile game, and it was quite good too.

So we had high hopes for this sequel which - like the original game - is a good old traditional side-scrolling platformer. Fortunately, Neenya doesn't disappoint. Instead, she jumps, swings and fights her way through 15 perfectly challenging and pretty levels, rescuing rope-bound monks as she goes. Admittedly, Neenya the Ninja: To the Rescue doesn't unleash too much in the way of surprises or originality but this is a highly polished and competent adventure for anyone who fancies a game that tests their platform-jumping and shuriken-throwing skills.

There is one addition to the game that wasn't in the previous example however, and that's the ability to collect four spirits scattered around levels. Each provides its own power, so the Fire Spirit, for instance, makes you invulnerable to enemies for ten seconds. The Water Spirit enables you to walk on water without sinking. The Air Spirit lets you jump extra high.

These spirits aren't always necessary to complete a level though. There are multiple ways to tackle each one with some paths being more difficult than others. The biggest difference between paths is that some contain a monk who needs rescuing. Again, you don't need to rescue them all in order to complete a level, but at three gateways within the game you'll need to have rescued a certain number to progress further.

If you haven't, you can always go back and search levels again. It's a neat structure because it means that pretty much anyone can complete the game without too much difficulty. The whereabouts of the monks that remain are marked on the map screen so you can pop back into those levels if you need, or want, to replay them to find a lost monk.

As well as the spirits, there are coins to collect for points and shurikens which give Neenya the edge against enemies. These range from flying dragons to ninjas jumping out of flames. Most can be dispatched with either a well-judged bounce on their head or a shuriken thrown into them. They're not tough to kill. The skill comes in knowing where they are and getting your timing right, especially in levels where you also have to navigate multiple moving platforms.

And there's really not much more to the game than that. There are a few puzzles, but they're no trickier to solve than having to push a crate into the right position, and offer little more variety than jumping over giant spiky balls, balancing across platforms, which vanish after a second, and running beneath bouncing sumo wrestlers.

But this is a endearing, well-structured game and its simple run-and-jump controls never let you down. Visually, it also looks neat with pretty backgrounds and foregrounds and nicely animated characters. Levels range from green outdoor ones to castles full of flaming lava.

So, it might not be re-writing the platform game rulebook, but we wouldn't expect every game to try. What we do expect is they deliver fun and playability, and Neenya the Ninja certainly does that.

Neenya Ninja: To the Rescue

Solidly playable, Neenya Ninja: To the Rescue offers a good balance of action, plaforming and item collecting.
Kath Brice
Kath Brice
Kath gave up a job working with animals five years ago to join the world of video game journalism, which now sees her running our DS section. With so many male work colleagues, many have asked if she notices any difference.