10 Second Ninja

10 Second Ninja's lightning fast action delivers an uproarious good time.

By c_rake, Posted 22 Mar 2014

10 Second Ninja is as straightforward as it gets. You’re a ninja and you have ten seconds to destroy all the robots in the area. Sounds simple, but in reality is difficult – supremely difficult. Curse up a storm because even on the 500th try you still can’t get more than one star, making you want to rip your hair out and scream at the top of your lungs kind of difficult. It’s also tons of fun and hard to put down.

The premise is that Robot Hitler and his army of robots are out to take over the world. But to do this, they must first eliminate the ninja, because nothing is more awesome than a ninja. It’s utter nonsense, but in a good way. Robot Hitler is as goofy and incompetent a villain as they come. He’s self-centered and unconcerned about the many failures of his campaign, brushing off setbacks and refusing to properly arm his soldiers, seemingly thinking that the mere presence of robots is enough to stop the ninja.

10 Second Ninja,Review,Screenshot

On the plus side, that makes your job much easier. You’re equipped with a sword and a set of three throwing stars per level. The goal is to eliminate all the enemies in as little time as possible. You get 10 seconds, which is way more than you need most of the time. The blistering speed of the action allows you to often finish stages in less than five seconds on your first go-around. In that sense, 10 Second Ninja isn’t very difficult. You can plow through each world in less than a minute if you’re good enough. But that also requires you to gain a lot of three-star ratings to unlock the boss stage, which is where the real challenge begins.

Finishing a level in 10 Second Ninja is merely the beginning. The true test begins as soon as you start re-playing levels to earn more stars to progress. Ten seconds is a tight deadline. To earn those coveted three-star ratings you need to be flawless in your execution. You have to know everything from when to jump and where, how best to use your ninja stars, and above all be able to not completely lose track of everything. All things you can only learn through hours of trial and error.

It doesn’t feel like a grind, though. It’s more like a puzzle. Because the levels always last 10 seconds, and the fact that restarts are instantaneous, it never feels like you’re wasting time. Even failed runs teach you something – maybe that you should jump a half-second earlier or that you need to change the order in which you dispatch foes. Little things that make a difference in the long term. Things you have to pick up on naturally, since the game moves far too fast to simply watch some YouTube walkthroughs to figure out the proper approach (unless you manage to watch them one frame at a time).

10 Second Ninja,Review,Screenshot

Even if you know exactly what you need to do and how, actually executing that plan is another matter entirely. It always comes down to whether you have the skill and dexterity required to pull off those masterful runs. 10 Second Ninja is unforgiving in that regard. It forces you to perfect previous levels to progress, causing more than a few headaches as you fail to meet the demanding requirements for higher ratings. Frustrating, but also a necessary step toward getting better.

Revisiting levels helps you understand how to become more efficient. You pick up on subtle tricks that save you precious milliseconds, discover paths that require fewer split-second movements – anything that allows you to get ever closer to perfecting entire worlds. It’s that moment of zen, essentially – where everything clicks, your mind no longer thinking and instead just acting, allowing you to conquer stages with nary a speed bump. Those rare moments are what define 10 Second Ninja. It’s what makes its hooks so damn engaging even at their most infuriating. Why hours of failure is worth enduring for the sweet taste of victory, if only for a second. There may be a few skill hurdles to overcome at first, but once you best them, 10 Second Ninja is nothing short of sublime.

Callum Rakestraw, NoobFeed.

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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Mastertronic
Developer(s): GameDesignDan
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Action
Release Date: 2014-03-05

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