The idea behind PONOS‘ Mr. Ninja is simple. Figure out how to glide from disk to spinning disk in a path of destructive alien splicing force and the game is yours. Conceptually the task sounds easy enough but the only thing that’s simple in this vertical jumper is the objective and its minimal orange and black aesthetic
After that actually mastering Mr. Ninja is much more difficult than it sounds. When the wheels start spinning you’re tasked with jumping from one wheel to the next while building your chain by slicing through paths of aliens along the way.
Minor twists and turns along the way add an element of surprise when Mr. Ninja is propelled from one place to another by cannons. The game’s generously easy introduction is enough to get you hooked but as the disks get smaller and grow further apart the level of difficulty increases.
Gliding past a score of 80,000 in Normal Mode without falling into the endless abyss of orange unlocks the next gameplay style focused on time. The wheels start spinning a bit faster, the game becomes a bit more difficult, and the focus is on scoring as many points as possible without falling off the wheels or running out of time.
Conquer the intermediate Super Chain Mode and Mr. Ninja takes you into the aptly named Impossible Mode. This is where the wheels start spinning more quickly and a few extra twists and turns transform what once seemed simple into difficult alien splicing oblivion.
Initially Mr. Ninja captures you with the “just one more try” syndrome of beating your highest score but I found that after awhile the lure of nothing more than a higher score in an environment with little variety became more repetitive than I’d hoped. Mr. Ninja has definite appeal, but beyond the vertical jumper flow there’s not a ton to make this a killer app.
Bottom Line: Mr. Ninja is an appealing casual vertical jumper that hooks you in with the promise of higher scores but eventually loses its appeal with its lack of variety. Addictive at first but not the best game to hit the app store.