To be honest I’m not sure where to go with this overview. On one hand I’ve had a brilliant time with 10 Second Ninja, and on the other hand it appears that the game’s developer, Dan Pearce, has created an entirely new form of ailment. I call it Ninja Neck and it usually occurs on/or around your 500th attempt to shave two or three nanoseconds off of one of your times.
I have fallen victim to this particular evil so many times that I fully expect the official launch of this game to bring the world to a complete halt as humans worldwide strain their shoulder and neck muscles in frustration. The good news is that it may halt the Russian invasion of Ukraine for a bit longer as tank commanders grimace for reasons other than being Russian.
So with my upper body wrapped in heat packs and my thumbs dipped in iced water, I delve deeper into 10 Second Ninja, a game that I completed in a total of one minute and 43 seconds..
10 Second Ninja (or 10SN as I shall refer to it from here on in) is a puzzle/platformer kind of a deal with an emphasis on slick execution and lightning fast reflexes. You play the role of the very first Ninja – ostensibly the most awesome thing in the world – and are set upon by robotic Nazis, which are unquestionably the second least awesome thing in the world. Actual Nazis being the worst.
So our shozoko-clad protagonist expresses his distaste with National Socialist politics the only way he knows how: with his sword, some shurikens and a strict time limit of just ten sweet seconds per area. It’s as simple as that, but it’s the simplicity that makes 10SN utterly engrossing. Objectives don’t get more complex than “kill all the Nazis really, really fast” with the real variety being the tools at hand in order to achieve such a feat. Mastering the controls takes a very short space of time – owing to being so tightly and simplistically designed – and it rarely feels like your screw ups are anyone’s fault but your own.
Each of the game’s worlds, except the first, have their own little environmental quirk for you to abuse. From falling rocks to portals, you’ll find plenty of ways to take advantage of your surroundings and bring death to your robotic foes as they float motionless in their sweet spot. These foes won’t bother to fight back, barring the big man Adolf himself – who serves as a boss at the end of each area – so one wonders whether they want to murder our awesome assassin or just give him a great big ego boost. The in-game cut-scenes shed a bit of light on that train of thought, but we’ll leave you to discover that yourself.
Still, the ego boost concept would make sense, given how much of an ego boost 10SN can give a player after shaving a mere millisecond off of a previous time. All is well with the world, for just those few seconds, before you dive straight back into the level again with the aim of gaining the smallest amount of extra ground.
One sad omission is the lack of leaderboard support for individual levels as opposed to the current system of comparing zone completion times. This feels like a missed opportunity that could suck players in even more.
Charming visual and audio design help this game snag players with retro inspired stylings. Robots leave chunks of metal behind once they’ve been vanquished and the clean visuals make it easy to keep track of your lightning fast ninja at all times, which is absolutely essential.
Areas for Development
- Expansion of the leaderboards for individual levels.
- Some in-game stuttering during boss levels to clean up.
Most of your time spent with 10SN will be working out which route will net you the fastest possible time, and you’d better believe that you’ll be compelled to keep diving right back into every level with the intent of slicing even more time off your score.
The inbuilt leaderboards make an already compulsive game, completely and utterly addictive.
10SN is swift, slick and sensational.
(Version Tested: Steam)
Technical Competency – 9/10
Graphical State/Sound Quality – 10/10
Network Competency – N/A
Overall – 9/10