Backflip Studios has had a number of interesting properties over the years, but for me the most endearing title in their collection has to be NinJump. The game took the infinite runner and turned it on its side as well as introducing the concept of defeating 3 similar enemies in order to temporarily gain a power related to that enemy. The ninja’s back, though this time he’s headed to the rooftops in what feels just slightly like a more traditional infinite runner. That doesn’t make it any less addictive, though, and I fear it might suffer the same fate as the original: removal from my device so I can actually find the time for something else.
If by some chance you’re not familiar with the infinite runner concept, the basic premise is that your character is always running and you have to perform one or more actions to help keep him safe from all the pitfalls in his way. In the case of NinJump Rooftops all you can do is tap to jump. If you tap longer you’ll jump higher, and when you have the right power up you’ll get three jumps instead of two. There are other power ups as well, like a magnet to attract coins to you and sushi that temporarily turns you into Super Ninja who is much bigger and invincible. Power ups take effect immediately, and you can have one of each if you can grab them all while the others are still active.
You always have three different missions to work on and each mission will earn you some coins when completed. Coins are also littered throughout the level for you to pick up at your whim. In addition to coins you can collect jades and nindrops, though those items show up much less frequently. Coins can be used to upgrade power ups and buy boosts at the beginning of each run, while jades will get you a couple of different costumes and allow you to continue where you left off when you die. Nindrops give you the chance to play the NinJump version of pachinko after your run where you can win bonus prizes like coins, boosts and jades. At this point there are is no social integration for achievements or leaderboards.
The best part of the game is the bonus dash. If you strike down three of a particular opponent in a row you’ll become temporarily invincible and get carted off by a large version of whatever it is that you attacked. Unfortunately some villains are much rarer than others, so I’ve only seen three of the dashes so far. The challenging part is getting more than one dash in the same run because it’s real easy to accidentally strike an opponent that you didn’t mean to simply because you’re in the middle of a jump. This also makes it quite a trick to hang on to two of a particular type of opponent until you can find the third to make a bonus dash. I think there should be some sort of prize for the player that manages to see every single dash available.
The visuals are similar to the original which means the game looks really sweet. The background is multilayered with plenty of details throughout each level. The characters are well designed and smoothly animated. The sound effects do a good job of bringing the action to life and I particularly like the different noises that the ninja makes. The music has a nice oriental ring to it, at least matching our Hollywood perception of what such music should sound like.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have a certain predisposition towards infinite runners as it is. However, I still get different levels of enjoyment from the genre depending on the quality, and this is one of the most entertaining ones I’ve played in quite some time. I love what Temple Run did by providing a different viewpoint for such games, but there’s still something to be said for the side scrolling 2D perspective, and NinJump Rooftops captures that essence perfectly. The control is super responsive, even without achievements there is plenty to work towards, and trying to get each of the bonus dashes is a particularly intriguing challenge. Even though the switch from vertical to horizontal sort of took away what made NinJump stand out from the crowd, Rooftops proves that orientation alone does not make the game.
|Title:||NinJump Rooftops||Developer:||Backflip Studios|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.1.0||Min OS Req:||4.3|
|Price:||Free||App Size:||48.5 MB|