There are very few forms of entertainment where 10 seconds is the maximum amount of time you wish to spend on an allotted segment, and rightfully so. However, in Four Circle Interactive’s much anticipated sequel/reboot to their beloved 10 Second Ninja, named 10 Second Ninja X, spending 10 seconds on a level shows the lack of finesse that you so desperately need should you want to achieve the best results possible. Your aim? Control your miniature shinobi through copious amounts of levels, destroying the myriad of targets as quickly as possible. Simple, right?
Armed with only three shurikens and a sword, it’s your job to survey the area, formulate your plan of attack and destroy the targets as quickly as possible. Whilst that may sound simplistic, the main pull is the “one more go” aspect that many indie greats, such as Super Meat Boy, also draw upon so successful. Likewise, the aesthetic and feel of the game mirror Super Meat Boy and it’s ilk, featuring bright colours, catchy and wonderfully chirpy chip-tunes, but the devil is in the detail, and you’ll be throwing your controller against the wall in no time at all. Believe it or not, that’s a positive. Games that induce an uncontrollable anger but then convince you to give it another go are able to delicately balance on the line between frustrating and addictive, which is an impressive feat.
A system not unlike those found in popular mobile games is also present here, specifically being a rating system based on three stars, and this acts in the same way that you expect; the better you perform, the higher amount of stars you earn. The more stars you earn, the further in the game you can progress, and the more virtual goodies are headed your way. As you progress and you naturally become acclimatised to the ebb and flow of your ninja ways, you’ll more than likely have to return to earlier levels to flaunt your more refined skills in order to earn that coveted three star reward. Regardless of what the game rewards you with, or doesn’t, at that point in time, being able to identify a noticeable improvement in your abilities is reward enough, and identifies the level of glee that you would find in other skill-dependant games.
With parallels to platformers such as Super Meat Boy, in terms of difficulty, Mega Man with the perilous pixel-perfect precision and, strangely enough, Sonic the Hedgehog, if only for a rather rotund villain who enslaves and encapsulates cute critters in robots, the attention to detail is astounding, and features comedic cutscenes throughout the course of your time with this title. Whilst the game doesn’t particularly need them, the addition of extra character is much appreciated and will not go unnoticed.
10 Second Ninja X is a frustratingly joyous breath of fresh air, one that fans of punishing games will thrive on, and regardless of how long you plan to spend playing this game, I can assure you that you’ll find yourself saying “one more go” numerous times. The graphics and general user interface may lack the detail that you may find in other platformers, but the developers know what is important, and they give that to you in spades.