It’s Super Smash Brothers, ninja style.

You have to hand it to indie publisher Grip Games: they’re certainly not afraid of being ambitious. Ambition, however, can only get one so far.

Atomic Ninjas is a fairly straightforward title, a dual release (PS3 and VITA), Super Smash Brothers-slash-PlayStation All Stars clone where environmental elements – versus individual character skill sets – determine round success.

Like its spiritual genre brethren, Atomic Ninjas defeat opposition by forcing them into deadly environmental elements. Meaning, beat your opponent senseless is a moot point…unless said beating results in the enemy face first in flames, lasers, or similar deadly ilk.

Related – and as characters attack solely through objects in this environment – it quickly becomes essential to memorize level design plus best items for sending said enemies to environment-based demise. Boxes, shurikens, and radiant punch power combine to empower ninjas to defeat opposition baddies. These – joined with navigational aids of claws, grips, and rockets – give your ninja the potential edge needed to rack up points and level wins.


Be forewarned: Atomic Ninjas is multiplayer only game. You can fill in player blanks with bots, a substitution that gets old fast. This boredom becomes even more evident in team-based levels, where an automated friend exhibits little to no randomness on the path to success of failure.

Still – and once online, I found it fairly easy to find like live ninjas ready to jump into the fray. The catch, however, is that my ninja compatriots seemed oblivious at what to actually do in these matches. Therein lies Atomic Ninjas’ greatest fault.

Simply put: Atomic Ninjas is wholly confusing. Aiming mechanisms are frustratingly inaccurate, also executing required moves to navigate unforgiving levels and attack spamming enemies. One never really feels truly in control of a ninja, rather hacks away at buttons and analog sticks to hopefully survive the chaos.

With repeated play comes greater compensation for the game’s confusing parts. Over time, it becomes clearer where levels aspire ninjas to go, also ways of overcoming aiming, attacking and jumping glitches. Small victories, but ones nonetheless.

As counter-intuitive as it sounds, confusion is exacerbated by a LACK of character variation. Leveling up ninjas opens up new ones in skin alone, meaning no specialization to compensate for confusion. Additional skill sets are available, but none truly alter gameplay. Meaning, ninjas could be flying toasters (with homage to the classic screen saver), little lost in translation. Thus, there is literally no payoff to slugging through, when end result is more of the same…albeit slightly funnier voices and sound effects for unlocked playable characters.


Also – and while noting it a budget title – Atomic Ninjas arguably lacks a true graphical feel. The game appears stuck between retro and hand drawn, an artistic blandness sheen on everything involved. There is likewise little to no distinction between PS3 and VITA versions (to include lack of touchscreen anything on the latter.) I reason graphical choice is to limit processor pull on Sony portable device; there was thankfully no slowdown to be found anywhere. Clever music and character voices serve as additional bright spots.

In retrospect, perhaps I’m unfairly critical of Atomic Ninjas for its aforementioned over-ambition. With this being said – and after hours of play - I kept looking for a standout element that adds to its genre, a hallmark panache hook of a solid, indie developed title. Like Grip Games’ Foosball before it, however, interest unfortunately waned versus grew with more title familiarity.

For diehards of the platform, multiplayer combat genre - there are few shows in town…let alone a budget priced one. Atomic Ninjas is fun albeit a bit disappointing, an affordable investment potentially worthy of a few quick matches here and there on a VITA. I can’t envision sustained hours on a PS3 for this title…especially with PlayStation All Stars readily available and discounted, plus saves not transferring across platforms.


Atomic Ninjas is a decent attempt at the platform fighter, an average offering suffering from occasionally confusing environments and controls. While it’s environment versus character-based fight system adds a twist, it’s hard to recommend this over PlayStation All Stars. [6.4]

  • Something different
  • Good for quick hit, VITA gaming
  • Multiplayer opponents on the ready
  • Confusing aiming and level design
  • Uninspired graphics
  • Better options exist
Quote: "For diehards of the platform, multiplayer combat genre - there are few shows in town…let alone a budget priced one."
Reviewed by Paul Stuart | 10.17.13 | Platform Reviewed: Playstation 3 & PS Vita

Simila Reviews: Super Smash Brothers Brawl (8.8)


Atomic Ninjas

Grip Games

Grip Games


US Release
October '13



$9.99 US
Online MP
5.1 Surround
HD 480-720p
D/L Content