I didn’t know much about 10 Second Ninja before I installed it today, but I was pleasantly surprised (since I was expecting one of those flash-like collection of minigames). It’s a short story about a blue-clad ninja and a robot Hitler.
Now that that is out of the way, along with the funny cutscenes between worlds, let’s talk gameplay. The game is a simple platformer, only involving a very small number of buttons. It’s a sidescroller, so you can only go left, right, do a double jump, slash with your sword or throw a shuriken. You only have three shuriken. You are then tossed into various levels where you have to eliminate all enemies, but with a twist. Ten seconds to comply. If you manage to complete the level within ten seconds, you pass. If not, try try and try again. And you will do so, because that’s not enough – you have to do it as fast as possible, as every level has par times that really leave no margin for error in order to get the coveted 3 star rating you want.
Here’s also one of the more annoying decisions the dev has made with the game – in order to unlock the world’s boss fight and move on, you have to have a certain number of stars attained. It’s harder than you might think, but the fact that most levels would take you about 4-6 seconds to complete means that it makes sense to have a concrete wall like that in your game progression. It’s rather old school that way. The game rewards you for being skillful, and if you stick with it, you feel the difference it makes in you trying harder and harder to complete a level in that 2.44 second mark you need so much to get that three star rating.
I haven’t managed to complete the game though, despite trying a bit hard to – got to the last world and when I saw I still needed to get 4 stars to move on, I simply gave up. I will probably get back to it, because it’s really fun. It’s very Meat Boy-ish in how you really want to reset every time you mess up, or sometimes before you even mess up, due to a twitch in your reset finger. You might want to hold one over it, even if I sometimes press it instead of slashing with the sword.
The game looks functional, and extremely readable. I think that’s also by design, since it is important to be able to see what you’re doing. The cutscenes are funny and work fine in the aesthetic. For some reason Robot-Hitler bleeds. The music is awesome and puts you in the mood to go fast.
It all boils down to making a plan and then trying your hardest to execute it to the best of your ability, and then crying when noticing the fact that there’s people on YouTube speedrunning the game in its entirety in about 5 minutes.
But it’s fun! A lot of fun. I recommend it. Also floating Robot Hitler.