Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita (reviewed), Windows, and Xbox One
Pirates vs. ninjas, it’s a dream match-up as old as the internet itself and this scenario serves as the setup for 10 Second Ninja X. Pirate extraordinaire Captain Greatbeard has kidnapped the world’s first ninja and forced his animal friends into robot bodies. You play as said ninja and must free your friends by destroying these robots spread out through 100 unique levels. The only problem is you only have 10 seconds in each level to accomplish this goal. Luckily, you’re the fastest ninja who ever lived.
At its core, 10 Second Ninja X is a platformer and, thanks to precise controls, it feels great to play. The control scheme is simple as you only have a jump and double jump, so no gimmicks get in the way of the pure platforming. You are given access to a sword and three shuriken in each level that you’ll utilize to take out the robots that have imprisoned your forest buddies. Both of these have a very generous reach and never got in the way of the frenetic pace of the game. Having weapons that work properly and precisely was absolutely crucial to the experience and they were implemented perfectly.
10 Second Ninja X is just as much a puzzle game as it is a platformer. You’ll need to scope out each level and figure out the best path if you want to maximize your completion speed. There is always an optimal path that will get you to the finish line the quickest and figuring it out then pulling off a tough platforming sequence is a fantastic hook that really sucks you in. The quicker you complete a level, the more stars you will earn. You can earn up to three stars per level and you’ll need these stars to unlock later levels. Getting enough stars to complete the game isn’t too tough, but collecting all 300 stars will surely keep you busy for some time as you perfect each level.
Levels are separated into 11 different worlds. Each world has its own look and specific design gimmicks. As you progress, levels will become more dependent on puzzle solving as a variety of new hindrances are introduced. Some levels will have lasers that your shuriken will bounce of off while some will utilize switches that open and close paths. These new introductions both keep things fresh and change the way you approach each new world.
Outside of the main game, there are quite a few other things you can do in 10 Second Ninja X. There are 11 different Marathon Modes (one for each level in the main game) which have you playing through the main game’s levels with no breaks in between. You’ll also be able to explore Captain Greatbeard’s ship where you can find a number of secrets and meet characters that will help you out a bit. There are also leaderboards for every level, if you’re into the competitive side of platformers.
10 Second Ninja X is a game that will test your skill, but never your patience. It controls nearly perfectly and figuring out how to complete each level in the most optimal way will also test your wit. It’s all about speed and precision, which surely isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for a challenging platformer with a ton of charm, this is one well worth checking out.