The great thing about the iPhone (and iPod Touch) when it comes to games is that they can be almost as complex and full-featured as what you would find on any handheld gaming system. You’re not limited to block-breaking, tile-matching, or solitaire variants, as you are with some other devices. Then again, some developers take this to the extreme and put out apps that are more feature than game.
With Chop Chop Ninja, available from the App Store for $2.99, Gamerizon has found the sweet spot. It’s a side-scroller with simple tap-and-hold controls.
The game’s story is simple: you are a ninja tasked with saving the Emperor’s daughter. In order to do this, you need to fight through multiple levels of enemies, progressively more difficult, and collect a series of special items. Nothing too original here; run, jump, hit things, save the Princess.
Chop Chop Ninja’s most compelling feature is that gameplay is intuitive. A short tutorial level shows you how to move and attack, and what to expect from different objects and enemies in the game. There aren’t any other instructions, and there don’t need to be. The game moves smoothly, zooms in and out appropriately (so you don’t feel like you’re “just” playing a side-scroller), and feels like an arcade game should.
Things that could be better
If Chop Chop Ninja disappoints, it’s only in that the gameplay seems too easy. After you’ve mastered the controls, beating up enemies and advancing through the levels is a breeze. Maybe different levels of difficulty would make it a more interesting game. It’s fun, but it could be more fun if it were more challenging.
The other thing that sticks out is the number of similarites to the Super Mario Brothers series of games. Collecting a hundred coins for a free life, repeatedly hitting a box with a question mark on it to get coins, and even the look of the terrain all seem really familiar. It doesn’t detract from the game, but it’s noticeable, especially since coins don’t fit with the ninja storyline.
The bottom line is, games are supposed to be fun, and Chop Chop Ninja is a lot of fun; it loads reasonably quickly and is easy to get into. For $2.99, Gamerizon has given us a purchase-worthy game, and it might be worth checking out what else they have to offer.
After you’ve saved the Princess, that is.
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