STAFF REVIEW of 10 Second Ninja X (Xbox One)

Friday, September 2, 2016.
by Mandi Jennings

10 Second Ninja X Box art 10 Second Ninja X starts off with a short narrative between a pirate and his computer’s AI in an attempt to create a story behind the gameplay. There are small tidbits of humour included throughout, just enough to make you chuckle at how strange it is. You then take control as a ninja and end up in a scene reminiscent of Sonic the Hedgehog vs. Dr. Robotnik, against the evil pirate Greatbeard. What's that you say? Greatbeard has taken your bird friends hostage and has suited them up to battle against you as robots? How could he do that!? You'll be battling your feathery friends through each level of this game.

The most suitable word that can be used to describe 10 Second Ninja X would be intense. It starts out nice and slow, teaching you the controls which consist of a sword attack, a set of 3 shurikens per level, and lastly a jump/double jump. Quite frankly, anything more may have made this game a bit overwhelming, as the namesake "10 second" level time crunch leaves you with little room for error to perfect your score.

In each set of 10 levels, you need to achieve a minimum amount of stars. You can receive a maximum of 3 stars per level, and with 10 levels in the set, you can obtain a maximum of 30 stars total. On the first set of levels for example, you need to get 20 stars total in order to move on to the next set of 10 stages which ends up being an average of 2 stars per level in order to progress froward. This poses a unique challenge, as it forces you to go back throughout the game to achieve higher scores on your previously completed levels, as opposed to just barely making it through all of them until you finish the game and come back. This sets 10 Second Ninja X apart from the others of its kind and helps draw out the gameplay.

Honestly, being forced to go back and replay the levels to get enough stars really helped the progression of the game, as you must fine tune your skills throughout the same levels before moving on to the more difficult ones, which if given a choice, I wouldn’t do, and it typically ends up being more difficult than it needs to be.

Another helpful tool the developer has provided is a time stamp of just how far off you are from obtaining the next star level. Each time you can cut that time down, you know you’re on the right path, as it’s just a matter of perfecting that path to master the level and obtain the elusive 3 star rating. On the plus side, the game does give you an instant restart using LB or RB to quicken things along. Considering how important each millisecond is, this will save you a lot of time when you know you made a mistake.

Each level becomes increasingly harder, including additional obstacles such as electrical fences and switches, but throughout the game there was never a point where I wanted to throw my controller down in frustration. This is how timed games like this need to be; structured in order to keep you interested, but not completely frustrating.

Overall, 10 Second Ninja X has found a harmonic balance between making the levels JUST difficult enough that it’s nearly impossible to get 3 stars, but only requiring 2 stars per level will keep you from feeling the need to rage quit and throw your console out the window like so many of it’s predecessors do. Give this game a shot; it’s well worth it!

More story! This game is beautifully balanced, and I absolutely love the tiny bits of humour. I wouldn't mind having a bit more of it to flesh out the game!

Overall: 8.5 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.5 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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