Developer: Pint Sized Games
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
I am just gonna admit that the first thing I thought of when coming across Card Ninja was Dane Cook and his “Brain Ninja” routine. Completely unrelated? Yes, but now you know how my mind works. Still, after a little more contemplation, I honestly wasn’t sure from name alone whether Card Ninja was going to have me making cards or playing cards. As it turns out, it’s neither.
Card Ninja by Pint Sized Mobile is actually a card sorting game – complete with stereotypical “ninja” sound effects.
Essentially Card Ninja features a large deck of cards with various colored backs displaying various “ninja”-themed images. The cards pile up in the center of the screen and there are goal posts around the outer edge of the screen. Your job is to sort the cards to their appropriate goal posts as quickly as possible without making any mistakes. Sometimes you sort by color and sometimes by the image on the cards. Sometimes, you have multiple stationary goals and other times it’s a single goal that moves clockwise around the outer edge.
To sort the cards and be the Card Ninja, you just flick the cards at the goal posts with the swipe of a finger. The game advances by rounds, which you can continue to play as long as you maintain the minimum number of cards in your pile to keep going.
For some, the color scheme of Card Ninja may complicate matters as some of the colors, such as brown and red, are close to one another in hues. It might be safe to say that the color scheme is an intentional selection to make the sorting more difficult by requiring a fraction of a second longer to think about which cards you are sorting where. In the more advance rounds of Card Ninja, the timer is set with less time and you must retain a higher number of cards to keep the game going.
I didn’t find anything exceptional about either the gameplay or the graphics in Card Ninja. The sound effects are ninja-like, or at least what you would expect of a ninja in an anime cartoon. There are cut scenes in between levels with text aimed at egging you on by taking jabs like “my grandma is more ninja than you.” It’s a little too much adolescent testosterone insertion for my liking, but I’m sure there’s an audience for Card Ninja’s style. As for the frantic sorting of cards, which is Card Ninja’s entire premise with or without the ninja effects, it’s pretty standard fare. The touch and flick aspect of Card Ninja has been designed to at least work and respond to your flicking speed.
Card Ninja is supposed to be based on a combination of speed versus accuracy. In some ways I guess you could say it does measure the speed at which the brain can process which cards go where. There are a few wild cards thrown into the regular mix of Card Ninja cards, some of which provide added time or freeze moving targets and some that will take away from your total card count. They add a bit of interest to Card Ninja and definitely make you pause to think before flicking.
I decided Card Ninja isn’t on my top ten list, or even my top 20, but like an assassin in the night Card Ninja might creep onto your iPhone or iPod touch and prove a worthy opponent for your own card-flicking warrior skills.