Game Reviews

Ninja Wrath

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| Ninja Wrath
Ninja Wrath
| Ninja Wrath

Once upon a time, video gaming was inundated with ninja-related outings. Shinobi, Revenge of Shinobi, Ninja Gaiden, Shadow Warriors, Ninja Spirit, Shadow Dancer... it was clear that gamers liked stealthy Japanese assassins. But recently that relationship appears to have thawed somewhat.

That's what makes Ninja Wrath so appealing - it's a good, old-fashioned action title which pays a katana-sharp tribute to the 8- and 16-bit classics of yesteryear.

The unnamed protagonist is your typical ninja - fast on his feet, deadly with a blade, and capable of unleashing devastating attacks on his enemies. Using a virtual pad and button setup, you can move your character in eight directions, leap into the air, and hurl projectiles. Spamming the 'attack' button executes a combo, and holding your finger on it charges up your Chakra gauge.

This gauge is instrumental to success in Ninja Wrath. Dash attacks - performed by sliding your finger across the 'attack' button - cut through foes with deadly precision, but they consume Chakra. You've also got a super attack, which is only achievable when your gauge is close to full. Picking the right moment to charge up your Chakra is vital, as it leaves you exposed to retaliation.

Everybody was Kung Fu fighting

Fallen enemies drop gold, which you can use to restock on projectiles, purchase restorative potions, and upgrade your current weapon. However, gems are the real currency in Ninja Wrath - they are required to obtain new items, and they also allow you to continue from where you left off when you die in combat.

Predictably, gems are hard to come by. You'll occasionally earn them in battle, but to gain the amount required to buy some of the tastier weapons it's necessary to reach for your wallet. With a bit of dedication you can work through the game without paying for gems, but there's no denying that they make things much easier for novice players.

That's largely because the game itself demands a lot of skill. As you work through each stage you unlock additional moves, most of which require a combination of button presses to execute.

Mastering these attacks improves your chances of success - especially during the demanding boss fights - but the somewhat imprecise nature of the touchscreen interface makes you yearn for physical controls during the game's trickier moments.

Revenge of the ninja

Elsewhere, Ninja Wrath rarely puts a foot wrong: the visuals are fantastic, with cute, super-deformed characters and gorgeous backdrops. The music is just as fitting, and the sound effects are incredibly effective - especially the splats that accompany the explosive and gory deaths of your opponents.

Despite the occasional control issue, Ninja Wrath does an excellent job of recreating the excitement and action of what many gaming veterans consider to be the golden era of 2D gaming. Although it relies heavily on in-app purchases, it's still sharp enough to secure your interest.

Ninja Wrath

Ninja Wrath sometimes comes unstuck due to its often irksome controls and reliance on in-app purchases, but it has enough of that all-important killer instinct to provide plenty of blood-soaked entertainment
Damien  McFerran
Damien McFerran
Damien's mum hoped he would grow out of playing silly video games and gain respectable employment. Perhaps become a teacher or a scientist, that kind of thing. Needless to say she now weeps openly whenever anyone asks how her son's getting on these days.