By: Casey Curran
Auto-run platformers are my favorite games on iPhone. It’s an excellent way to fit platformers onto it while ignoring the shortcomings of only using a touch screen. Ninja Sprint is the latest of these, as you control a young ninja through four different locations in 80 worlds. While it is not on the same level as Rayman Jungle Run, it is still a great addition to the iOS library.
The game has a very simple control scheme. Tapping the bottom right of the screen causes your character to jump and the bottom left is a slide command. Attacking enemies is done simply by running into them while jumping, and sliding is used for bottomless pits and obstacles such as fences. Running into an obstacle costs you one of your three hearts while falling down a bottomless pit is an automatic death.
Attacking enemies builds up a special meter. When this is full, it allows you to use a screen-filling fireball that destroys all enemies and obstacles in your path. Coins are scattered throughout levels for you to collect with three giant coins (think New Super Mario Bros) in each one. There are many different paths to take in a level with a “right” one where you kill every enemy and collect every coin. Naturally, getting this path is very hard to do.
While jumping over obstacles works very well, sliding uses an animation that takes a little too long to use. This is not constantly a problem, but levels are not always designed in a way that can accommodate this, offering a few instances where I either had to jump and miss out on a coin or take damage in some way to get the coin. There are also too many instances where I had to move from one level to another and had no way of knowing what was below me. This required a leap of faith, which too often was not successful.
Visually, the game looks bright and vibrant. Characters are clearly done using Flash, but they look nice because of it. Backgrounds meanwhile are well detailed, offering a very nice looking game considering the price. However, the one issue which brings both it and the music down is how repetitive they are. With 20 levels in an area, I was begging for a change of scenery halfway into each section. The music, meanwhile, is the exact same thing over and over again. I did not even get a third of the way through the game before I had to mute it.
While by no means perfect, Ninja Sprint’s amount of levels gives a real bang for your buck and a good way to kill some time on your iPhone.