Do you remember going on school trips when you were little? Someone always got busted trying to smuggle a ninja star home in their luggage. The teachers didn't object to pornographic playing cards, or firecrackers, but the death-dealing shurikens really seemed to provoke their ire. If you were one of those kids, Ninja Throw is the game for you.
How does it play?
If the title of the game doesn't clue you in, let's elaborate further. You play a diminutive dude in black pyjamas and your job is to throw stars. The goal is to hit a gong with the minimum number of throws and the quickest time, a combination of which will maximize your score. Just line up the target, tap the ninja, and he'll unleash one of his deadly shuriken.
Ah, but its not that simple. It never is, is it? There's lots of little obstacles standing between you and the gong, so you'll never have a direct line of sight at the target. Rather, you'll need to make use of several elements that influence the path of travel for your throwing stars. There are gusty clouds, but more pertinently, there's also a pair of "sensei" with the power to repel and attract your stars.
This is where the game becomes interesting; sometimes these elements are fixed in place, and sometimes you can move them around the screen. It all adds up to a complex set of variables where there's no single fixed solution for hitting the gong. You can endlessly experiment and improvise with the gravitational pull/push of the two sensei, and eventually you'll hit upon the solution. It's pretty clever stuff.
Why do we like it?
The visuals for Ninja Throw are simple but refined; we like the subtle details like the cherry blossom petals drifting to the ground when our ninja lands on a tree branch. Or the hummingbird hovering around in the background. The music and sound effects, by contrast, are generic Eastern mystical nonsense, with chop-socky yelps punctuating each action on the menu screens.
But it's how it plays that's the important thing, and we like the use of real-world physics that underpin the game mechanic. The early levels will gently introduce the various obstacles, and then later on it gets properly taxing. Alas, it feels like the game is over far too quickly, with only 57 levels plus 8 bonus levels to work through. What litte of it there is, however, makes for great entertainment.
But remember kids, don't be trying to repeat any of this stuff in the playground. It's all fun and games, until someone gets a ninja star embedded in their forehead and they scream in anguish, blood pouring into their eyes and all over your hands as you try to rip the projectile free. Don't say we didn't warn you.
Ninja Throw is available now for 69p on the App Store