• arrow
    LOG IN 
    • Log in using an option below.
         
      Forgot password?
      Login with Facebook
      Sign in with Twitter

  • REGISTER
ABOUT US
Contact Us Who Are We? Hall Of Fame Advertising With PG Games Archive
MORE PG SITES
PG.biz PG FRANCE PG GERMANY PG Game Guides PG GameHubs PG Connects 2014
MORE SM SITES
AppSpy Free App Alliance 148 Apps Android Rundown iPhone Quality Index iPad Quality Index Android Quality Index Swipe Magazine Best App Ever Awards
FREE STUFF
Competitions Free iOS Games iOS Price Drops
PARTNERS
Metacritic
GameRankings
Pocket Gamer on NewsNow
GamesTracker
dx.net
UK Mobile Pages Directory
Skinflint Price Comparison
iPhone  header logo

1-bit Ninja

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Bit good

Product: 1-bit Ninja | Developer: Kode80 | Publisher: Kode80 | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Adventure, Platform, Retro | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
 
1-bit Ninja iPhone, thumbnail 1
A smell, sight, or sound can often lead our minds back to events in the distant past, dragging up either good or bad memories, commonly of moments that - at the time - we would have never have thought of as particularly special.

When I started playing 1-bit Ninja, for instance, I was transported to the back seat of a school coach, playing Super Mario Land on a borrowed Game Boy as we travelled to some terrible school trip, such is the way the game nails that old portable console aesthetic.

But write the game off as merely a Mario Land clone at your peril - 1-bit Ninja has enough originality and charm to forge its own path.

It's-a-not-a-me

Your ninja is on a quest, not to save a princess, but to find his lost Gametoy (I wonder what that could be).

He does this in the time-honoured tradition of running from left to right, leaping on baddies’ heads, and jumping on a flagpole to end the level.

All the Mario Land trappings are obvious to see, from the setup and way the character jumps, to collecting 100 coins (in this case ‘bits’) for an extra life and finishing each level in a Bowser's Castle-like fiery world.

Unlike in Mario, though, you can only move to the right (by pressing the lower-left of the screen).

At first it feels like an odd approach to take with the controls, but thanks to some clever level design that incorporates this limitation into mini platform puzzles of sorts, that thought soon evaporates.

Room with a view

Within each of the 20 levels are five hidden coins - sorry, ‘bits’ - that unlock a few extra features (including a 3D mode) should you find them all.

It’s here where 1-bit Ninja’s secret weapon starts to make its presence felt.

Rather than just tapping to run and tapping to jump, you also have the option of swiping the top half of the screen left or right.

This action moves the camera, revealing depth in the previously flat 2D world. By doing this, you can spot little false platforms or hidden tunnels, disguised as blocks when viewed from the default angle, that can then be explored - almost inevitably leading to a secret coin.

You can choose to ignore this aspect of the game entirely and play the game as a straight retro-platformer, but when you’re dashing through the level and see one of those fabled coins lurking in a seemingly impossible location, it takes a strong-willed soul not to return later to work out how to reach it.

Tricky, tricky

An infinite life, level-select is included beside an Old School mode (start from the beginning with limited lives) and acts as a welcome concession for the often unforgiving difficulty.

Most of the time this difficulty is down to the remorseless and tight jumping, where a mistimed leap will invariably lead to a sticky end.

It doesn’t help, though, that the game never tells you how to spring higher off an enemy (hold down 'jump'), which is a bit annoying when starting out.

However, leaping-aside, the most frustrating aspect of the game is that you’re dumped right back at the start of the level each time you mess up, with all the hard-earned coins ejected from your pockets.

The levels aren’t that long (a perfect run should take under a minute), but they’re tough enough to warrant a checkpoint at half-way.

But even when you’ve been dumped back at the start for the tenth time, it’s hard not to pull yourself up and try again - no doubt attempting ‘that’ leap into the hidden platform this time around now you know it’s there.

Each level may take quite a few attempts to beat completely, but the excellent sound, graphics, controls, and childhood memories of a more innocent time will spur you on for just one more go.

 
1-bit Ninja
Reviewer photo
Will Wilson | 23 June 2011
A retro platformer that stands out from the crowds with its evocative presentation, exploration, and firm-but-fair controls
 
Have Your Say
Post a comment - Please log in to leave a comment
Pocket Gamer Biz     PG Login
Login with Facebook Sign in with Twitter
Joined:
Jun 2011
Post count:
1
zage513 | 23:22 - 27 June 2011
Really fun game. I just wish it flowed a little better to allow for speedruns and such, as jumping three times up a staircase kind of breaks the games continuity.
 
POPULAR REVIEWS
LATEST COMMENTS LATEST NEWS
LATEST VIDEOS VIDEO REVIEWS