Review Spring Ninja
A frustrating experience of trial and error
Author: Brandon Girod
Date: 12 Mar 2015, tested on HTC One M8
Features good gameplay mechanics, the art style is simple but pleasant
The game follows a frustrating trial and error system, the jumping mechanic doesn't give the player any feedback to measure with
If there is one interesting thing happening in mobile gaming right now, it’s watching the evolution of endless runners turn into simple one touch arcade games. And Spring Ninja for Android is a game that has made me realize these games are more about death than one individual life.
That might seem like a puzzling statement, but let’s take a look at this game’s mechanic. Similar to another game I’ve recently played, here we have no direct control over where and how far our character jumps, and the idea is that we’re trying to jump from one platform to the next.
On the feet of our ninja are springs and holding down a tap will increase the power of the jump. So, a simple jump might be nothing more than a tap, a longer jump might require you to go all out, and sometimes you’ll just get lucky with a blind jump.
However, the theme here is that you’re going to die. And you’re going to be doing a lot of it, too, because there is no way to learn how your character will jump in reaction to your tap because, aside from a simple squatting animation, there is no meter or bar that gives you any indication.
So herein lies my overarching issue with this new type of one touch arcade game. The amount of trial and error here is staggering but unlike an RPG game where you can have fun with discovering how the game works, here you just simply die. You end up with nothing to show for your fruits of labor, and I think that really hurts the game. Why do I want to spend any amount of time playing a game that is simply frustrating to play?
Spring Ninja is a beautiful looking game with gorgeous aesthetic and environments that are nice to look at. Even the gameplay mechanic is interesting. However, the trial and error process feels like a step backwards and I can think of plenty of competent platformers that actually give me enjoyment and reward my efforts.