Developer: Backflip Studios
Price: free Download on the App Store
NinJump Deluxe is in a class of games that owes its existence to the iPhone, games that can only be played with a screen held in portrait mode. We’ll call them “vertical platformers.” In this type of game, the player must move the character upward, not forward. Increasingly tough obstacles will be encountered, and the player’s high score is determined by how long he or she can keep the action going. The most successful vertical platformer is probably Doodle Jump. NinJump DeluxeNinJump Deluxe is the follow-up to the original NinJump, and this time there are three levels instead of only one. In addition to the original “Classic” level that feels like a cartoon 19th-century Tokyo, players can now try to navigate the eponymous ninja through a jungle and even a pirate ship.
Here’s how the game works: The layout of all the levels involves two walls on either side of the screen, and plenty of negative space in the middle to be occupied by various villians. When the game starts, the ninja will just start climbing, and there’s no way to make him stop. Tap the screen, and he will jump from one wall to the other while swinging his sword. This is useful if the player must either avoid an obstacle on a wall, or attack an enemy that is in flight between the walls. The ninja can also collect powerups, like a shielding bubble that temporarily protects against attack. That’s all there is to it.
You read that correctly: To play NinJump Deluxe, you need only tap the screen. No tilting, swiping, or on-screen buttons required. For some this will undoubtedly seem like a weakness of design, and the game might be too simple to be compelling. For most, however, it’s a feature, not a flaw. The intuitive interface gives NinJump Deluxe an arcade-game like quality. It’s perfect for casual gamers in need of a few minutes’ distraction at the airport.
The look and feel of the game is also a lot of fun. The graphics wouldn’t seem out of place on a Cartoon Network show, and it’s all steeped in a very silly sense of humor. The ridiculous enemies the ninja must confront include witch doctors and monkeys that hurl bee hives.
If all this sounds appealing, give the original NinJump a try—it’s a free download. If you like that, it should be an easy decision to purchase NinJump Deluxe for a scant $0.99.