Chop Chop Ninja
Release Date:February 18, 2010
Price:$2.99 (for such a short game, I'd almost argue that's a bit hefty)
Summary:Stupendous. Ninja. Game.
What do you get when you combine Mario Brothers with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? I don’t know, but it may be a little something like Chop Chop Ninja.
Let me introduce you to my latest addiction, in my cathedral compendium of addictions, mind you, but an addiction nevertheless – Chop Chop Ninja by Gamerizon has surpassed other games in its side-scrolling ilk as my go-to game, one that I can pick up and put down at ease, but one that manages to contain enough of a detailed storyline, and enough main quests and boss characters to distinguish it from simpler games. It’s plucky, almost, with cartoonish, Samurai Jack type illustrations, cutesy cliche Asian music of the harmonic harp type, and a main character who zips and flies around onscreen, to every light brush of your fingertips. To merely say this game is both entertaining and well-made is do it an injustice. The game is, for lack of a better word, stupendous. And, it’s free.
You play as Iro, an aggressive little fellow, despite, seemingly, all bushido code, seeking to rescue his geisha love, in this case, the Emperor’s Daughter, from her ghastly stone-bodied curse (you gotta save the princess if I make a comparison to Mario). To do so, he assists a long, white-bearded wise man in finding the rare ingredients necessary to concoct the “old elixir” to bring her back. He makes up for his small stature with flying kicks of tremendous force, and a frog-like ability to leap and bound like no other mortal creature. The gunmetal gray of his kimono is wrapped snugly to his taut body with blood red sashes, one straight across his forehead, reflecting the very same red rimming his bloodshot eyes. This guy means business, and the way he torpedoes around the screen, bashing samurais left and right as they charge at him, swords drawn, I’m surprised anyone attacks him at all.
The quest is to find three ingredients, starting with the Cloudy Monk Sake, the Leaf of an Ancient Bamboo, and then the Poison of the Royal Scorpion. For each, you must battle enemies like the Kosugi Army in places like The Shadow World. Very cool. Controlling your little ninja is a piece of cake – much like how, I’m sure, he views fighting his opponent horde. There’s no D-Pad to be seen anywhere (*breaths sigh of relief*), and the entire screen acts as a canvas, no visual hindrances of
any kind indicating where you need to touch, where you need to tap, to create certain movements. This controlling style turned out to be more intuitive than I thought it’d be – I thought I’d just be jamming my fingers and thumbs around, completely obscuring my vision at moments of peril. Instead, having the entire screen act as your touch interface just makes… sense. To move your ninja, hold your finger down on the screen in the direction you’d like him to run – e.g. somewhere to the right to run right, somewhere to the left to run left. To jump, tap onscreen where you’d like him to jump. Don’t be fooled – it is a little tricky at first because we’re all used to concrete “finger boundaries”, I suppose you could say, but in this game, you soon learn how to adjust your taps and holds to create the movements you want. Attacking follows the same principles: tap behind an enemy to sling your ninja in a kicking and punching fury toward that opponent; tap a bit upwards of the enemy to result in uppercut combos. It’s all pretty slick and suave, if I may say so myself, utilizing the entire screen as so.
The one real problem I encountered with this gameplay strategy is that sometimes, when encountering large boxes I’d like to move, it’s ridiculously hard to simply push them to where I want, and not kick them to smithereens. I get it, Ninja guy, you’re pissed. Your lovely dame was taken from you and the whole world is painted red, as far as you’re concerned. But, please, you’re a little kick happy. Save your joints for the ones that fight back. But, as a whole, the game is flawless. It’s fun, the characters are curious and variable, not stagnant and boring; the illustrations are great; the animations are stellar (smooth even, on the 3G); and, the background story piques the curiosity enough with just the right amount of fantasy quirk. If I wanted to challenge the developers with anything, it’d be, “Why isn’t this game longer?”
Like I said, it’s Mario Brothers meets Crouching Tiger. How can you go wrong?