Draw Slasher: Dark Ninja vs Pirate Monkey Zombies can be summed up in three words: style over substance.
First, the style. This game is easy on the eyes, with incredibly detailed black, white, and red art that’s fluidly animated and made us want to bust out a magnifying glass to make sure we caught everything. In addition to the massacre you’ll be causing front and center, the background is equally impressive: clouds drift by, a pirate ship bobs in the water, and an arrow-ridden corpse swings from a noose directly behind the action.
Appropriately adrenaline-charged music is pumped into your earbuds, setting a perfect mood for slicing up all the zombie monkey pirates the game can throw at you. As you serve your enemies hearty helpings of disembowelment and decapitation, bright red blood and body parts go flying. The baddies roar and screech appropriately.
The red line doesn’t bode well for the baddies.
The gameplay is simple, and looks good on paper: draw a line, and your ninja follows it with his sword. You can slice bad guys left to right, head to toe, diagonally, or any way in between.
This sounds like the makings of a great game, doesn’t it? We have top-notch presentation and a solid gameplay gimmick. So, what does Draw Slasher add to the mix to kick it up a notch?
One song and one background setting are all you get. There are no powerups or special moves to modify the action, and no way to customize your character. Even the bad guys are boring; they come in different shapes and sizes, but they all go down in one hit just the same.
Fountains of gore.
Your health slowly regenerates when you stand still, and for the first 15 levels you’ll spend a lot of time waiting for bad guys to spawn. One thing we love about successful high-score game like Flight Control and Canabalt is that the difficulty and danger ramp up quickly. Since the purpose of Draw Slasher is to rack up an impressive high score, why do we have to spend 20 minutes trudging through levels that provide zero challenge before we even have a chance of locking in our bragging rights?
Another thing that’s unforgivable in a high-score game is a lack of online leaderboards. If we’re going to spend 20 minutes hacking and slashing enemies in front of one background, we at least want to be able to see how our score racks up against Joe Schmo’s in Kalamazoo. This game only tracks local high scores, which are only useful if you can convince your friend to try the game on your device. And if you do, you’d better find a sitcom to watch, because it’s going to be a while.
If you’re looking for a microgame time-waster, don’t let the slick presentation of Draw Slasher fool you. You’ll be bored with it before you’ve completed your first playthrough.