Review – Ninjatown [DS]

Posted: February 17, 2012 in DS, Reviews

Ninjatown is a game with characters based on Shawn Smith, a toy designer and the artist behind the Shawnaimals toy line. Smith was also the former editor of Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ninjatown features one of his creations, the cutesy looking Wee Ninja..


Apparently, Ninjas are known for their skills of Stealth Hugs, Fists of tickle Fury and baking cookies which are considered the finest cookies in all of Shawnimaland. The secret recipe of the Ninja Star Cookie is handed down from generation to generation by the Baker Ninjas of Mt. Feroshi, as well as the village elder, Ol’Master Ninja. Which is you. It seems your arch-enemy Mr. Demon fancies the recipe, and loves sending Devils to destroy Ninjatown from his base in the Dark Forest. According to the instruction booklet on the other side of Ninjatown is Mt. Feroshi where Feroshi the “Dino Slug” lives and is the guardian of all things Ninja. If you offend him he can make the volcano erupt, which would effectively melt the very thing he’s meant to be guarding…

The gameplay is sure to be familiar to many. Ifyou know what the addictive internet game Tower Defence is, then you know Ninjatown. Enemies (in this case Devils) try to travel from A to B, sometimes having more than one entry/exit point and you must stop them. Instead of planting gun turrets and the like, you build Ninja Huts. Huts can only be built on plots of land which are alongside the path the Devils take, giving you a limited number of Huts to build. As well as this you have a certain currency, which are cookies. Each house has two Ninjas, which whenever an Devil comes into its radius, they walk up it and start punching. Some Huts come with certain attributes, such as having Ninjas more powerful, but slower. Ninjas that can fire upon air units with slingshots, or even Ninjas which throw snowballs which can slowdown and freeze the enemy. The Huts can be upgraded, making your Ninjas stronger, faster and extending their attack radius.

The Devils also come in all shapes and sizes, having their own abilities. The normal Grunt which is your easiest Devil to destroy, the bigger Devils which burp at you, more powerful, but are slower, air units which can only be attacked with anti-air slingshots and snowballs, and even Business Devils which can’t be slowed down because they’re in such a hurry. On occasions you have the Boss Devil, which the one I face didn’t move, so I had to use Ol’ Master Ninja’s technique with a magnifying glass to burn it to death.

Each “district” of Ninjatown is split into four levels, each with its own mission, but is basically the same thing. Before each level you get an interaction between various Ninjas, some of which are quite amusing.

Ninjatown is mostly controlled on the touch screen, you can use the stylus to move around the map. However if you didn’t start pressing in the middle, you’ll find it slower to move in whatever direction of the map you started pressing near. I found it easier to use the D-pad, which was also faster on the whole to move around. To build Huts it takes a tap on a plot of land, a few more taps to choose which type of hut you’d like – Voila, it is done. Since you are the Ol’ Master Ninja, you would expect yourself to have all the powerful attacks to use as you wish, oh no. You have forgotten everything, but you slowly conquer your amnesia and remember special attacks to use, providing you are happy enough, which is filled by destroying enemies.  Some of these attacks use the microphone, such as to use your blow attack… you blow. Also is the Wake Up Call, where it says to shout into the mic to rouse your Ninjas and heal them, but a quick blow works just as well.

The sound is very, very basic. The main theme is a simple repetitive oriental sounding chime, with punching noises from your Ninjas. You might as well turn it down and play some music or listen to the TV.

The graphics are cartoony and flat, with little shading around some of the models edges’, and as such do not make full use of the DS’ power. You would not be surprised to see it on a GBA running fine.

Each level comes with a grading system, so if you don’t get an A on a level you can easily go back and replay it. Ninjatown also comes with a multiplayer feature, so you play against a friend, both Ol’ Master Ninja’s. To see who can defeat their wave of Devils the quickest. The longevity of the game rests on how you build your Huts. Build them effectively and you can easily defeat each wave, fast forward to the next one and continue. If you’re not as tactical the game will take longer.

If you really, really, really like Desktop Defence and fancy a colourful version to play on the move, by all means get Ninjatown. If you’re content with the flat simple format of the internet version, you might not want to bother. It’s a very good game, addictive and fun, which merges two unexpected formats into one another, but it adds very little on what it was based on.

Gameplay 4/5
Playability 4/5
Sound 2/5
Graphics 3/5
Lifespan 4/5

A] Nice take on a basic game.
B] Handy in short bursts.
C] Fun storyline.

A] Basic graphics.
B] Poor sound.
C] Might be repetitive for some.


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