Ninjatown

Ninjatown

Ninjatown

Not as safe a place as you might think.

Ninjatown is a very silly game. You play an ancient ninja master directing his chibi-ninja disciples in an effort to stop Mr Demon from stealing an ancient ninja recipe for sugar-cookies. It's bright and cute and full of silly LOL NINJAS jokes about ninja droppings and moustaches and tie-wearing business ninjas who worry about their sugar stock. No mention of pirates, though, which is odd for a game that tries to squeeze as much cheesy jocularity as it possibly can into every line of dialogue or tutorial.

But Ninjatown hides an interesting, tough strategic core underneath all the sugary frivolity. It plays like a fast-paced PixelJunk Monsters with a broader array of units and maps, as waves of little demons make their way from one end of the map to the other while you place ninja houses and a gradually broadening array of support units to stop them. It's about balancing your available resources as well as placing your Wee Ninjas cleverly, learning when to spend your money on upgrading houses and when to keep building until the map is a busy jumble of demon face-punching.

The game eases you in for a good four or five levels, introducing the basic ninja and demon types and letting you experiment, but the pace soon quickens as new ninja types and special powers are introduced and the incoming enemies become stronger and faster, and it's necessary to dash frantically around the map micromanaging battles. Soon it's nearly impossible to beat a level on the first try. Ninjatown relies on a fair amount of trial and error; the map shows you which type of demon is on its way and where the next wave will appear, but there's no way to gain an impression of the overall flow of a level except to fail it a few times and learn from your mistakes.

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