Welcome to this edition of Five Dollar Dives, where I will be reviewing the game Running Ninja.
This game had me a little surprised. While I did get some of what I expected, a few of the game’s mechanics did have me raising an eyebrow. Not in a bad way though, as I was left thinking, “Well that’s interesting.” There is definitely some missed potential. However, considering the price that I paid for it, I was not expecting anything ground breaking.
Running Ninja is a 2D platformer. The things that makes this game stand out are the mechanics after you jump on the platforms. Jumping on it isn’t really the right term as you just have to enter their space, so to keep it simple I will say when you interact with the platforms. The platforms only appear as a white outline that you can interact with, when you do they then change into different colors. This does help to add some color to the game. The interesting thing about this, however, is that the blocks start to rotate depending on how you land on them once you have interacted with them.
There are some areas where the game is quite rough around the edges. However, I am going to start with what this game does right first off. For any 2D platformer the thing it needs to get right is the movement. Running Ninja accomplishes this. You can easily move from one block to the next, but it’s not totally effortless as you need to be keenly aware of what you are doing to succeed. The most common result of falling is your demise.
Another thing done well is ramping up the difficulty at a reasonable pace. You are not overwhelmed too quickly by it, although there are a few rooms that you may need to attempt a few more times than you may want to admit. I did end up getting killed once in the first room, which is not my proudest moment. Sometimes the game straddles the line between difficult and punishing. This comes from the fact you have to move quickly and the blocks that fall are somewhat random, so some runs feel like you got through it due more to luck than skill.
Running Ninja starts to falter at the checkpoint system along with room length, although they are linked to each other. The horizontal rooms are the worst as I found most of them to be just a little too long. I often found myself starting to get tired of the room I was on just as I completed it. This is something that comes down to personal preference, so I am not going to fault the game too much for it. It would have been nice if the horizontal rooms had a checkpoint in the middle like the vertical rooms. This would help to alleviate the feeling that the rooms are too long. This game, however, seems to want to place itself as being rather difficult.
The graphics are not mind-blowing. They do the job of portraying what will kill you, where you can stand and jump to, and where the check points are. A small thing I found myself liking is a red band that flows after you. It looks like a scarf, however there is nothing there when you stand still. It’s useful for tracking direction if you get disoriented.
The thing that feels like a missed opportunity is the lack of controller support. The game controls are fine without it, but using a controller would allow for even more precise movement control. I consider this to be more of a nitpick than anything, as this comes down to personal preference for myself. When I play platformers, I like being able to sit back in my chair rather than be stuck at the keyboard.
Options between windowed mode and full screen are available. You are also able to select what resolution you want to play in. There are also sliders for sound.
This one was a bit of a tough one for me to come to a verdict on. For the price and what I got out of it I would recommend Running Ninja. I hope the developer continues their work as they have shown significant improvements between titles thus far.
Store Page: Running Ninja
Developer/Publisher: BBB Games
Release Date: March 13, 2019
Price: $0.99 USD
Time Played: 30 Minutes