10 Second Ninja will make your heart race, your palms will be constantly soaked in the sweat of stress, and your sense of time will be reduced to intervals of ten seconds. Why? Because Dan Pearce, a BAFTA award winning developer no less, has deemed it necessary to condense the best parts of break-neck platforming down to the rigid constraints of a stopwatch.
And it’s bloody brilliant.
The game has you take control of a ninja on a quest to destroy Robot Hitler and his army. Being the unpleasant fellow that he is, Robot Hitler has banned all ninjas, and so begins your swift journey of vengeance as you cleave your way through his army of Nazi robots, and eventually even Robot Hitler himself.
Everything that makes 10 Second Ninja great can be traced back to that damned ten second timer. Your time is everything, down to the millisecond. It’s tense, perhaps more than it should be, but there’s something almost inexplicably compelling about trying to shave your best scores by even a fraction of a second. Figuring out the fastest path will have you returning to each level time and time again like a twisted drug addiction, adding buckets of replay value to what could have otherwise been a one-time experience.
In an effort to help you achieve the best scores possible, your arsenal includes a sword with a deceptively large arc of attack, a double jump that can help you change course mid-flight, and three shurikens that can help you skip sections all together with a bit of timely precision. Learning to master these three simple mechanics can help you knock seconds off your time.
And then there’s the leaderboard. If 10 Second Ninja’s timer is the drug, then being able to see everyone else’s score on a worldwide leaderboard is undoubtedly the dealer of this score-obsessed addiction. Never before have I been so compelled to try, time and time again, to beat the scores of other players as obsessively as I did in this game. To say that achieving a high slot on the leaderboard is fulfilling would be an understatement, but perhaps more importantly your time on there will be fleeting as everyone else attempts to vie for the top spots, turning the rush for domination into a finely tuned arena for only the most dexterous.
10 Second Ninja doesn’t complicate things. The gameplay is simple enough to pick up and play without much guidance, and yet at the same time allows for more experienced and score-hungry players to experiment within the confines of each level in an effort to minimise their completion time. With the added drive of leaderboard dominance and fluid animations all around, this is one addiction I will struggle to shake for a long time.
Oh and I’m currently third place worldwide on Canyon, so if you could just not beat that score, that’d be great.
This game was reviewed using a copy provided by the developer for that purpose.
10 Second Ninja was released March 5TH on PC & Mac.
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