10 Second Ninja X (PlayStation 4) Review

By Josh Di Falco 05.12.2016

Review for 10 Second Ninja X on PlayStation 4

Nowadays, it seems like every game is trying something completely new and different in order to try and stand out from the others, while smaller developers can get away with taking extreme risks as opposed to the "play it safe" attitude of AAA-titles. Sometimes, it's as obvious as day as to why a particular game mechanic was never used, while other times it boasts a few hours of enjoyment more so than what some major titles actually deliver. Four Circle Interactive's 10 Second Ninja X is the latter, due to the titular game style of clearing a stage full of enemies in ten seconds or less. This is a constant adrenaline fuelled 2D platformer, where the ninja in question must rescue his forest friends and himself from the dastardly pirate Greatbeard.

10 Second Ninja X opens with a story of sorts to try and get the ball rolling; however, it is basically non-existent nor is it even required. The tutorial gets the basic platforming game mechanics out of the way. The ninja can jump, slash his sword and launch shurikens across the screen through countless enemies in order to clear the stage within a ten-second time limit. While not overly deep, it is the fundamentals required to spend the next three or four hours racing against the countdown clocks, with a heart that is constantly pounding.

Screenshot for 10 Second Ninja X on PlayStation 4

Stages are divided up into six different "themes" and is accessed via television screens aboard Greatbeard's pirate ship. This is the main hub point of the game, as the television room connects to the all the ten second stages, as well as other areas of the pirate ship. However, within each of the six television sets are ten consecutive stages filled with enemies, and each one has the countdown clock to clear it. Each of the stages has a three-star reward system, with the fastest possible time scoring the most stars, and collecting these stars is paramount to unlocking the rest of the televisions and as such, continuing the game. If the three stars are not awarded, the results screen does a good job of indicating the number of seconds away from gaining that next star, which is handy when trying to keep track of how to improve on the next run. However, this star system ensures that it is not enough to pass the stage, but to do so in a quicker period in order to earn more stars to open up more stages.

This game loop is addictive, and once beginning on a series of runs, there is no stopping due to the ease of restarting a stage with the press of the shoulder buttons. If a mistake is a made, or there is need to reset the stage, a quick press of the button allows for an instantaneous restart, which does not break any momentum at all. These buttons will become the ninja's best friends, because lots of restarts is required to ensure that the right number of stars is earned in order to proceed, especially as the later stages rise in difficulty. The platforming itself feels really clean and pristine, with no "ice" on the ground that usually causes the expected slides in some 2D platformers. The ninja reacts to the button presses immediately, and the gameplay is as smooth and accurate as these sorts of genres go.

Screenshot for 10 Second Ninja X on PlayStation 4

Enemy robots are positioned in strategic spots on the stage, but apart from needing to be destroyed, they are otherwise motionless. They do not fight back, nor do they move around the screen in order to make life more difficult. While it may sound questionable, 10 Second Ninja X already provides a hefty challenge with defeating these motionless robots, and the strategic locations of the robots makes this more of a puzzle game than a hardcore platformer. Trying to figure out the best way to go about clearing the stage in the quickest amount of time is more about thinking strategically, rather than just mindless demolition. Later in the game, obstacles such as electric currents, shuriken rebounds, blue and red switches with accompanying trapdoors and zip-liners come into play in order to ramp up the difficulty and ascertain more defeats.

Each stage is also linked to online leaderboards, and as such replaying these stages for bragging rights around the world is enough to have players going back for more. Seeing how the achieved scores rank against everybody else is a nice touch, and trying to rise that leaderboard is just as addictive as earning the three stars. The leaderboard can also be filtered to just show friends in the case of those competitive spirits. However, a lack of a "replay" function where players can see just how the top players managed to clear the stage is detrimental. While it may be difficult to implement, it would've made for a handy addition and a way for other speedsters to improve their own scores and learn from the best.

Screenshot for 10 Second Ninja X on PlayStation 4

The pirate ship itself has other areas which feature an extended cast of characters, and a host of side missions to knock out of the park. Kat has a mini-game which can earn coins, which can then be spent to uncover hints as to how to achieve the three-star rating in a stage. A disc is scattered into nine pieces, and upon finding them all, a whole new game within a game can be played with its own online leaderboard. Costumes are unlocked and worn, though they are really only skins and serve no functional advantage other than looking different to the default blue ninja suit. However, the real meat of the side missions comes in the forms of two extra modes: Marathon mode and Legacy.

The Marathon mode allows for purists to attempt to clear each series of ten stages again, but consecutively with a tally counting up the amount of deaths and stars collected, as well as the overall time it took to complete the series. Then at the end, a grade is given and the choice to move on to another series or replay the current one is made. The Legacy stages on the other hand feature all the original stages that were made for the PC release of 10 Second Ninja, and they further serve for completionists who wish to increase their star count to reach the game high of 300 stars.

Screenshot for 10 Second Ninja X on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

10 Second Ninja X is a short platformer that is fast paced from the moment it begins, and it never really stops. With the interesting game mechanic of clearing a stage in ten seconds, the difficulty is increased by achieving the required stars to open up more stages. While it is a clean platformer in terms of fine-tuning the mechanics, it is a frustrating one that seeks to appeal to the platforming purists hungry for a hardcore time sink. The hours will fly by as the ninja dashes across countless stages; however, because of the difficulty, it's a tough sell for casual gamers or those not well versed with chaotic platformers.

Developer

Four Circle Interactive

Publisher

Curve Digital

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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