Ninja Smasher - Nintendo 3DS Review
- Platform: Nintendo 3DS (also available on Steam and iOS)
- Players: 1
- Achievements: No
- Steam Trading Cards: No
- Controller Support: Yes, Full
- Retail Price: $3.99
High Level Premise: 8-bit style Metroidvania with high-flying ninja acrobatics.
Graphics/Style: This game looks like it was dragged out of a late-era NES cartridge.
Music/Soundtrack: Repetitive, but bouncy.
Story: The princess has been kidnapped! You are a ninja. Figure it out from there.
Replay-ability: For me, once the closing credits ran, I was done with it.
Time Commitment: 4-5 hours tops.
Value: A very enjoyable romp. $3.99 seems more than fair for it.
Favorite Element: Traversing entire sections of the board without ever touching the ground.
Ninja Smasher started life as an iOS game in 2014. For the record, I have no idea how this game is playable without a D-Pad. One of the "gifts" when you complete the game on 3DS is the "Touch" method of play that you would use on iOS...and it feels so clunky to use in comparison - I barely made it through the tutorial using this method, but that's probably just me.
Ninja Smasher does away with things like story and character development, and throws you right into the action. Ninja Smasher is an action-oriented Metroidvania style game. While there is still exploration to be done, it is far more linear than most of these games I've played. If you aren't ready to explore an area yet, Ninja Smasher will not let you in there, no matter how hard you try. Ninja Smasher probably would appeal more to a younger audience than many games in this genre.
There's a lot to like about the presentation of Ninja Smasher. The graphics are small, but well rendered. I will say that the map screen is terribly small. I found it hard to find places I hadn't discovered yet. A zoom feature would have been nice. With only a few exceptions, this really does feel like a game that could have existed on the NES 25 years ago. The controls are extremely tight, almost to a fault. You will be able to throw yourself around the screen with reckless abandon in just minutes. The music to the game is very peppy, but it isn't a very long loop. I ended up turning it off after a short while.
As I've mentioned before, the game is fairly easy. In fact, there was only one screen that I actually had any trouble defeating. About 75% of the way through the game, you win the ability to grab on to ceilings. The problem with this is that using it requires extensive use of the diagonals on the d-pad...and I didn't find the d-pad on the 3DS up to the job. I easily had a couple dozen life losses on one screen because I couldn't reliably count on the up-right diagonal to kick in. Fortunately, once I got by that screen, the ceiling claws were virtually unnecessary. I find it bizarre that they spent the effort to introduce something like this so late in the game, and then only use it once or twice.
Overall, I highly recommend Ninja Smasher as a short, but entertaining entry in the Metroidvania genre. It's not too difficult (bosses especially are easy if you have enough potions), but offers a good amount of fast paced ninja slicing and dicing in a well priced package.