Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy
Jan 6th 2004
Introduction:Namco has pulled a rabbit out of their hats this time. The unexpected action packed title called I-Ninja is one of the most memorable platform games of 2003.
The Game:I-Ninja follows a young ninja who takes on a wide variety of foes and challenges in his quest to save the world from the evil Master O-Dor. He is guided along his path by his recently deceased sensei and will meet a number of other characters throughout the game. The whole concept never gets heavy, because Argonaut throws in a funny sequence or witty phrase to make you laugh. I-Ninja comedic approach and cartoonish looks are a great combination.
The gameplay in I-Ninja is a collected variation of all good platform games from the past, but executed with its own flavor. You will be quickly reminded of games like Conquer's Bad Fur Day, Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Monkey Ball. Although to pin down one style is hard because they mix and match constantly keeping the gameplay fresh. For an example in the early levels of the game you will be running up walls and swinging to avoid lasers, rolling around on a giant robot heart to fighting a huge robot fish in a submarine.
Controlling your little ninja is fairly simple and any gamer will be able to pick up and play this game. The level design is fairly simple, but occasionally you will come acrossed some tricky parts especially later on in the game. I-Ninja is type of game where you can pick it up and play for 20mins or 4-5hours, which never bogs you down and remains fun.
Graphics & Sound:The graphics in I-Ninja aren't going to win any graphics competitions for their high polygon count, but surprisingly when playing the game you really don't care. The cartoonish presentation of this game giving the content couldn't be delivered any other way. The game has a lot of bold lines, and a few visual tricks up its sleeve. I-Ninja looks great and pulls off and makes me feel like I'm watching a Saturday morning cartoon.
I-Ninja's sound is a blast, which is because of the brilliant voice over work, and well placed one-liners through the game. The background music in the game is adequate as well as the wide range of sound effects to deal with all the changing themes within the game.
Innovation:I-Ninja is a surprise in the innovation department because overall the game doesn't overload the gamer with a bunch of new features or new gaming ideas. What I-Ninja does is blend all the elements together always being fluid and entertaining. Usually in a platformer you will have an idea what will be through the next door, but I-Ninja will keep you attention and give you several games all rolled into one.
The unique aspects to I-Ninja would be its bold graphics and simple, yet impressive design. Your ninja has some special abilities such as Rage attacks and different combos, and the ability to gain new weapons and karate belts, but we've seen it all before. It's a hard game to visualize, its one of those titles you just have to experience to see the full picture.
Mojo:It's been a while since I have really enjoyed a less serious game, and a platformer at that. I'm not a platform gamer by heart, unless you are talking about the classics. Old School NES all the way or a funny game guy. I-Ninja was a more than I expected, and I just wanted to play more, get more, and receive more ninja craziness. The levels are cleaver and upgrading and showing off the ninja skills is major fun. This little ninja sure packs the mojo, and he is sure to be hit with all the ladies in the land of videogames.
Lowdown:If there is one platform game which I could recommend this year it would be I-Ninja mainly because of its accessibility to all gamers, its fun outlook and perfected gameplay. Don't underestimate things in small packages, I-Ninja packs a punch.
Gameplay: 9, Graphics/Sound: 7, Innovation: 7, Mojo: 10. Final: 8
GOTY AWARDS: BEST PLATFORM GAME OF 2003