Fri. Mar 1st, 2024
10 Second Ninja X Cover

There are some games that are designed to be masterpieces, and others that are designed to be a fun way to kill time for an hour or two. 10 Second Ninja X is firmly in the latter camp. Honestly, I think there’s nothing inherently wrong with this category of game. Not everything needs to be epic, there’s something pleasant about simplicity. I think it’s far worse when a game tries to be something it’s not. I’ve had awful experiences with games that reached too high, and just didn’t deliver. I’m perfectly happy to play simple games that recognise themselves for what they are. So, I thought I’d make a 10 Second Ninja X review for Nintendo Switch.

This is your pretty standard 2d platformer, with the added twist that you only have 10 seconds to complete each level. It’s this gimmick that sets this game apart from the rest. Each level has enemies to defeat, platforms to traverse, and maybe traps to avoid. These get progressively harder, but the time limit stays the same. So whilst you might find it easy to beat 3 enemies in 10 seconds, it’s a very different story when you’re faced with many more.

I definitely appreciate what the developer was doing with this game. I think it was designed pretty well, and delivers what it intended to. Whether I enjoyed it or not? Read on to find out! (I was gifted this key by the publisher, but all opinions are my own).

Story

As you can probably guess from the title, you play as a ninja. Your duty is as a guardian of the forest, but oh no! The evil Greatbeard has captured your forest friends, and it’s your job to get them back. He’s made them work for him, presumably using mind control. As such, you’ll have to fight the very creatures you swore to protect. To be fair to the villain, he really does have a great beard.

Once the initial cutscene and tutorial are over, you find yourself aboard Greatbeard’s ship. From there, you have to defeat a series of ‘tests’. I really like the idea that the game incorporates the 10 second time limit into the story. All of the levels are just you running tests that Greatbeard has set out for you.

10 Second Ninja X Review Nintendo Switch Cutscene
An ominous and well-made opening cutscene.

As you progress, you discover new characters who live on the ship. You can interact with them, and you find that they’re also unhappy with being on the ship. Greatbeard is not a good employer, and they’re miserable. Eventually, they’ll even help you take him down, by giving you hint tokens, and even joining you in the levels. It’s enjoyable to build your relationships with them, and feels like a reward for progression.

The story is simplistic, but honestly it’s more developed than you’d expect from a game like this. I was just expecting “ninja kill bad guys”, so any lore on top of that is a bonus. It’s also cool that you get to interact outside of the main levels.

My new friend Benji!
I legit love that they made a whole new in-game title screen for the new character.

Gameplay

10 Second Ninja X has really simple controls, and given the time constraints, that’s a good thing. You don’t want to be faffing around with complicated controls and combos. There are 3 main buttons you’ll need in each level. Jump, close quarters attack, and ranged attack. The ranged attack is a shuriken throw, which is limited to 3 per level. This limit can make things very interesting, as deciding when to use shurikens could be the difference between winning and losing. The shurikens are easily my favourite part of the game, it feels so cool and exciting to launch them, and you need split-second accuracy.

So many enemies, timing will be crucial.
Deciding which enemies to use shurikens on can be daunting.

You’ll need a lot of patience to progress very far in this game. I won’t lie, I rage quit after about half an hour the first time I played it. I most probably never would have returned to the game had I not needed to review it. There is a ‘relaxed mode’ in the game, but I have no idea what the difference is, as you still have the 10 second time limit. As the game gets more difficult, the levels require more skill. It can be really frustrating to have to constantly redo a level so that you can get enough stars.

Having said that, there’s an immense feeling of elation when you finally get 3 stars on a tricky level. Not to brag (I’m totally bragging), but I ended up on the leaderboard for a couple of the levels. It feels like a very tangible reward for all your hard work. Whilst I’m not sure that the pay-off is worth it for the amount of effort it takes, it still is definitely there, and I’ll never turn down a nice hit of dopamine to boost my self-esteem.

10 Second Ninja X Review Nintendo Switch leaderboard
Why yes, I did complete the level in under 2 seconds, placing me 12th in the world…

Enemies, Traps, and Level Design

One thing that’s really interesting about the levels, is that it’s not only about skill. Sure, you need to be quick and good at platforming, but there’s more to it. If you take the wrong route, then it doesn’t matter how talented you are, you won’t complete the level in time. The level design is actually really clever in this regard, as one route can look obvious, but the 3 star route ends up being something you never would’ve considered at first.

The flip-side to this is that once you add traps into the mix, the route is only half the battle. Even if you know what you want to do, successfully accomplishing it is a different matter. A few times I felt like yeeting my Switch across the room in frustration after constantly dying to the same trap. Some of the jumps you need to do are just evil. There may be a tiny gap between 2 electric walls, and you want to carefully line yourself up. But of course, there’s a time limit, and so you can’t take too long getting it right. This means a lot of trial and error, trying to make a perfect jump with no preparation time.

The walls are electric, and so are the enemies.
Let it be known that I hate electricity.

The enemies in this game were a little underwhelming. I admit I didn’t get to the end of the game, so perhaps they get more exciting there. However, in the 3 worlds I played, the enemies were simply target practice. You don’t take any damage if you touch them (unless they’re electrified), and they don’t move or anything. There are a few variations, some have armour so you need to hit them twice, and the electrified ones can only be taken down with shurikens. But on the whole, they were pretty stagnant.

Graphics and Audio

The graphics were exactly what you’d expect from a game like this. It was your standard cartoon-style 2d assets, not quite pixelated, but not detailed either. The colours were clean and crisp, so it was easy to differentiate between the characters and the setting. I had no issues on this front, whilst I wasn’t blown away either. The graphics were decent enough that I could play and not be distracted.

10 Second Ninja X Review Nintendo Switch Arcade
The ship even has its own arcade room!

The opening cutscene was surprisingly detailed, more so than the rest of the game. The music sounded like it belonged in a spy movie, it was really intense. There wasn’t spoken dialogue, just a weird grunt side effect. The humour was decent. I didn’t laugh my socks off or anything, but it still made me smile.

Audio-wise, I rather liked the soundtrack. There’s an epic guitar solo when you start up the game, which is super fun to listen to. The downside is that it’s incredibly short, so unless you immediately jump into the game, the home screen will be silent. Within levels, there’s a powerful tune that portrays the sense of urgency. The tunes change between worlds, but the atmosphere is the same. The music tends to be rather retro, even Mario-esque.

10 Second Ninja X Review Nintendo Switch Levers and blocks
This world was full of levers that activated block walls.

I also like how each world has its own aesthetic, as does the ship itself. The colours and shapes of the assets are different, and there are new obstacles. It’s good to have that visual representation of your progress, as the game can feel rather repetitive. The designs and music are simplistic but enjoyable, and I have no real complaints here.

Overall

On the whole, 10 Second Ninja X is an okay game done well. The designs are fine, the music is fine, and the gameplay is fine. It’s all… Fine. The problem is, whilst it was well made, it didn’t wow me. It was quite fun at first, but constantly repeating levels really wore me down. I also felt like it had no business being played on a console. It feels more like a mobile game, and that’s where I feel it could have shone. 10 Second Ninja X is the kind of game I want to play whilst waiting for a train. It’s something to do sat in the waiting room of the doctor’s surgery. But it’s not a game I’d choose to play when I could be playing any number of other games instead.

How about you, does this game sound like the kind of thing you’d want to play? Are you a glutton for punishment, who relishes repeating levels to shave fractions of a second off your time? Join the discussion over in our Facebook community! And if you want to play a better platformer, then enter the monthly giveaway to win a copy of Yooka-Laylee!

10 Second Ninja X

7.99
7.4

Verdict

7.4/10

Pros

  • Smooth gameplay controls
  • Upbeat and exciting soundtrack
  • Fun level mechanics

Cons

  • Gets repetitive very quickly
  • You need to be very skilled to progress
  • Feels more like a mobile game

By Screen Hype

Hi! I'm Melika Jeddi, a content writer and aspiring author. I've created Screen Hype to share my unique brand of entertaining articles with the world, and to create a fun space that everyone can feel a part of :)