Game Reviews

NinJump Rooftops

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| NinJump Rooftops
NinJump Rooftops
| NinJump Rooftops

Backflip Studios's hit action game NinJump challenges you to scramble up between two walls that stretch to infinity.

In the case of NinJump Rooftops, infinity means endless rooftops - a unlimited succession of wood and shingles that forms a shining path to the horizon.

Whereas NinJump is an endless climbing game, NinJump Rooftops is a two-dimensional endless-runner. Amusingly, the latter game segues into the former: each run you perform begins with your ninja making his or her last few leaps between buildings, then vaulting onto the rooftop.

Does your black-cloaked avatar get to rest, or catch his or her breath? Of course not. There is no rest for the ninja.

Run, ninja, run

There is, however, plenty of running and leaping. NinJump Rooftops comprises a left-to-right scrolling path riddled with hazards like pits, fires, rival ninja, angry pandas, and birds (if you grew up in the 8-bit era of gaming, then you already know the bird and the ninja detest one another like the tiger and the dragon).

In terms of gameplay, Ninjump Rooftops is a fairly standard example of its genre. You run, you dodge problems, you collect coins, and you use those coins to upgrade your power-ups in the hope of making them appear more often.

Power-ups include a coin magnet, a shield that protects you from one hit, a triple-jump, and sushi that makes you giant for a little while. With practice, luck, and perseverance, you might set a new long-distance record. And then you can try and beat that record.

My friend, my killer panda

NinJump Rooftops isn't an innovative title, but to its credit it focuses on offering a fine-tuned experience with some fun extras.

For starters, it looks good. Though the presentation is completely 2D, the rooftops are situated in different planes of depth. There's no trick to jumping on these seemingly faraway rooftops, either - a regular leap will do. It's just a nice example of Backflip adding a bit of realism to a game about cartoon ninjas and killer pandas.

Speaking of killer pandas, they're just one example of the enemies that can temporarily become allies - a feature that helps make NinJump Rooftops a sushi boatload of fun.

As you dash, enemies attempt to thwart you. When you jump into or onto these bad guys, your ninja automatically cuts them down. If you cut down three of the same kind, a giant version of that bad guy will appear and carry you for several metres while wreaking havoc on all that stands in your way.

Kill three birds and a roc-sized sparrow will swoop down and carry you for a time. Kill three ninjas and you'll ride a flying ninja star across several rooftops. Mow down a few pandas and you'll befriend a Godzilla-sized teddy.

Though not packed with new ideas, NinJump Rooftops is a solid endless-runner. It looks good, its controls are tight, and the option to kill three enemies and align yourself with a murder machine for a time keeps you from zoning out while you play.

If you've reached the top of NinJump, NinJump Rooftops is a worthy next destination.

NinJump Rooftops

NinJump Rooftops literally takes over where NinJump leaves off, and it's an equally fun, if familiar, experience