Indie Quickie: 10 Second Ninja X

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What is it and who made it? Made by Four Circle Interactive and published by Curve Digital, this is the sequel to 2014’s 10 Second Ninja. It has an ‘X’ in the title because it’s more EXTREME! (Or maybe X-rated, because the game’s sure to make you drop plenty of F-bombs and other choice expletives.)

What platforms is it on and how much does it cost? Get your die-and-retry on right now for Steam (PC/Mac), PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita with cross-buy, and Xbox One. $9.99’s the price across all platforms. (The PlayStation versions are on sale for only $5.99 until August 2nd, so jump on it quick.)

How much did we play? Playing the Steam version, I finished 38 levels and earned 77 stars in an hour and a half. In all, there are 100 levels (60 that are brand new, 40 that are remastered legacy maps) and 300 stars.

Any technical concerns, hardware requirements, or other details you should know about? I experienced quite a few performance quirks with the original game when I covered it a couple years back, but I’m happy to say that thus far the sequel has been far more polished. No problems to report here.

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Why should you play it?

    • Old Ninja, New Tricks: Ninja is back at it again, doing what he does best: jumping, dashing, slashing, and shuriken-tossing through small 2D puzzle-platforming environs which must be cleared of evil robots within a firm time limit of only 10 seconds, earning one, two, or three stars based on how much time is left on the clock. Skilled choreography goes into achieving a fast, clean run, failing repeatedly until your ninja focus picks up on a pattern or solution. Then it’s all about getting your fingers to operate at high twitch agility to nail the pinpoint precise actions required to pull off the envisioned run. Once you successfully beat a level, the brain then clicks into an obsession to replay for countless additional attempts in order to perfect the run and shave off that pesky tenth or hundredth of a second separating your current best time from the next star tier. The ability to tap a button an instantaneously reload the level helps maintain a snappy pacing and keep you in the moment at all times.

    The mechanics are the same, but unlike an old dog this ninja has learned some new tricks. For starters, the visuals are a lot smoother, more vibrant and cartoony; the backdrops in particular have received a noticeable bump in detail. Ninja is still only armed with his sword, three shurikens, and the ability to double-jump, but now those moves are put to a stiffer test against reflective laser barriers, color-coded switches linked to matching gates/platforms, fields of insta-kill electricity, thick-armored robots that take two hits to destroy, and other bots protected by force fields that can only be killed by throwing stars (and will kill you on the spot if you jump on or attempt to sword slash them). The uptick in level complexity and challenge is balanced by a new hint system, whereby a little memory test mini-game can be completed to earn hint coins which in turn can be spent during a level to view a ghost preview of a successful run. A subtle new touch that’s oddly satisfying is the addition of a pitter-patter sound to the ninja’s quick footsteps. It sounds cute and thumpy for one, but I also found that it brought a stronger sense of tactility to the platforming. Even though it’s just a sound effect, it made me feel more connected and grounded and in control. The only missing element is boss battles. Each world in the original game ended with a boss level, but so far I haven’t encountered any new bosses in ‘X’.

    • Playable Hub: Perhaps the most significant upgrade the sequel brings about is the addition of a hub connecting world/level selection within a playable space, as opposed to the original game’s basic level select menu interface. But now there’s a fully playable airship environment populated by NPCs, mini-games, hidden rooms, collectibles, and extras like a marathon mode and unlockable character skins. It’s not a huge environment, but it effectively serves its purpose as a sort of safe haven area to explore a bit in between bouts of frustration attempting to complete those tricky 10-second stages.

    • Blue Dude With ‘Tude: The silly humor of the original game returns (even sillier than before as evidenced by the screenshot I captured higher up the page), this time also tinged by Sonic the Hedgehog parody/homage. The main villain, Captain Greatbeard, has captured all of the ninja’s forest friends and trapped them inside his army of robots. Sound familiar? Greatbeard sure looks eerily similar to an evil egg-shaped doctor, except with a beard and eyepatch instead of glasses and a majestic mustache. Plus he’s got the pod-like personal hover ship to boot. Even the world themes seem to bear a passing resemblance to some of Sonic’s classic zones, in spirit if not outright mimicry. The goofball charm certainly helps to offset the game’s high degree of difficulty by making you giggle in between the curse-filled rants (of which you’re likely to have many).

Parting Thoughts: More of the same summarizes 10 Second Ninja X pretty well, which isn’t a bad thing at all. The developers did a great job of maintaining everything that worked the first time around while improving and expanding upon the mechanics and level design in subtle but effective ways. That’s just what you want in a sequel. You can reference my impressions of the first game for additional information, because pretty much everything I said before still applies here. 10 Second Ninja X simply does everything better, for an even higher level of quick burst time attack twitch platforming fun.

What is Indie Quickie? It takes a lot longer to fully review a game than it does to get a good sense of what a game is. Even with a full-time staff of writers it would be impossible to fully review the thousands of games that are released every year. Indie Quickie is our way to offer snap impressions of the countless indie titles small teams and one-man game studios are releasing literally every single day, and to help guide players to worthwhile games they may not have heard about before.

Disclosure: A Steam code for 10 Second Ninja X was provided to VGBlogger.com by the game’s publisher.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!