|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Venom Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Southpeak Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 28, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
While Ol' Master Ninja never gets in on the action himself - he floats above the battlefield observing and strategizing from a hot air balloon - he can occasionally unleash extremely helpful powers to bolster his ninjalings and temporarily impede enemy progress. Every foe your troops defeat adds a little energy to a "happiness" meter that can be triggered to blow enemies around the screen, give your ninjas a speed boost, stop time, or trigger other helpful abilities.
Ninjatown's control interface makes excellent use of the dual screens. The upper left half of the top screen displays a constant map that tracks all of the action via helpful indicators. This screen also lets you know what the next oncoming wave of enemies will be and how close they are to launching. Then there's Ol' Master Ninja who sits in his little air balloon. The touch screen shows a zoomed in view of the battlefield and is where you'll input all of the commands with simple flicks of the stylus. This works well in combination with the D-pad which is used to scroll around the map screen.
Don't let the colorful and simple presentation throw you off. Ninjatown may look like a kiddy game, but it offers plenty of intricate elements and challenge for serious gamers. Visually, the bright colors and artwork are pleasing on the eye, and the animations of all the little ninja characters are a lot of fun to watch. They stand around looking cute and practicing their moves; then they freak out and go all kung-fu when baddies stroll by.
With all the major games vying for your dollars and attention in the lead-up to the holiday season, Ninjatown is going to be a very strong contender. Beneath the cute trappings is a rock-solid game that's witty and addictive. It turns out ninjas can be a lot of fun even when they're not chopping people to bits.
CCC Staff Contributor