Developer: Starfall Studios
Publisher: Starfall Studios
Tested on: PC
Sneaky Ninja – Preview
The title Sneaky Ninja struck us as fairly odd, as a ninja is supposed to be silent, deadly and precise, thus sneaky would certainly stand well on his or her resume. We weren’t exactly treated to the green turtles from the sewers either, instead we had to make do with rather stout and cute ninja to bring certain death to their enemies. Platforming, puzzles and sneaky maneuvers seemingly awaited us in this Beta version of the game. We were curious if these round ninja would truly have skills of legendary proportions.
For years and years, the ninja have lived in their village, protected from the samurai by ghosts. Now, for some reason, the ghosts have lost their power, and the samurai are attacking their peaceful community. As Taro (The Grasshopper), Kaida (The Sharpshooter), Shoji (The Sensei) or Miyu (The Geisha) you’ll have to try to fight off the samurai as much as you can, freeing your captured friends and killing the enemy. This storyline is not very elaborate, yet gives an extra touch to an otherwise simple game of defeating the bad guys and helping your friends. While some of the storyline is definitely noticeable in the game, it would be nice if it was even more implemented in the different levels, as now they feel a bit lacking in content.
Graphically, the game looks quite simple, yet very likeable. Backdrops with thick lines and bright colors give the whole a very fun look, and also the egg shaped ninjas add an amusing touch to the game. Each chapter takes place in a different environment, which results in backgrounds that go from farms to mines or green forests. Even though the game isn’t finished yet, the developers will likely not alter much about the looks of the game, seeing it already looks fun enough for an adventure game such as this. We hope however, that some more fun themes are introduced for future chapters.
To accompany the fun graphics, there are some Japanese inspired tunes on the background, that are overall quite subtle, yet energetic enough to fit the game. Whenever you are attacked by samurai, the music will get more to the foreground, to give that extra bit of excitement to the dangers at hand.
Sneaky Ninja is a stealth game that is built up using different chapters that each have their own environment. Each chapter consists out of several levels which you’ll have to complete in order to move on. The chapters aren’t completely thought out yet, as there are often only about two levels in each chapter, and chapter three is missing altogether, while four and five are already there, yet this beta version already gives a good idea of what’s to come.
In each level, the main goal is to simply make it out alive, reaching the other ninja and strike the gong. On your way, you will encounter many samurai, which you can either sneak past, or fight. There are several weapons to choose from, some more friendly than other. You can for example to slay your enemy with shuriken, distract him with a smoke bomb or shoot him with sleeping darts. Nonetheless, just jumping on his head will do the trick as well. Next to that, you can also opt to use some magical tricks to distract the enemy.
Next to your enemies, you’ll also see lots of coins on your way to the end, though we’re not exactly sure what advantage they give. If you look carefully, you’ll also find treasure chest every once in a while, which contain more ammunition. Also ghost will pass the revue, and sometimes an extra quest is added when you’ll have to find the key to the cage in which your friends are held hostage.
As stated before, there are lots of different ways to defeat your enemies, and lots of different weapons to choose from. Next to that, the different characters (you can play with all four ninja) all have their own favorite weapons, which you can choose if you want to, at the beginning of each level, just like you can choose which character you’ll play with. Next to your skills in killing, you’ll also have to be very skilled in climbing and jumping cliffs etc. the mechanics prove to be solid enough, thus no real issues occurred there.
Each level can be played at four different difficulty levels, which adds quite a lot of replay value. While playing as a grasshopper will be fairly easy, the other levels do absolutely add a good bit of difficulty. In the higher difficulties, there is much more planning involved, as you will probably run low on ammunition, or have to find some health restoring hearts before you kick the bucket.
Sneaky Ninja is an adventure game that has quite a bit of potential. Right now, the storyline isn’t implemented very much into the levels, but they are fun to play anyway , just beating up the bad guys and reaching the finish line. The graphics look good already, and the more levels will be released, the more original backdrops we’ll get, hopefully. We’re eager to see what the game will look like in February, when it is announced to be released.