It took three years, but the tiny hero from Ninjump has finally reached the top. This side-scrolling endless runner uses a gameplay style that will be familiar to many mobile gamers, but what sets it apart are the clever power-ups that let you recruit giant birds, squirrels, and pandas to your side.
The nameless, faceless ninja you control doesn’t have much of a reason to scale rooftops. All you need to know is that he’s a ninja on a mission, and rival ninjas and animals will stand in his way until he falls. Ninjump Rooftops could use a slight storyline or some character development to give you a sense of purpose, but Ninjump is content to let its character and his motivation be a cypher.
Fortunately, the game’s appealing graphics will keep you engaged. As you tap the screen to jump from roof to roof, you’ll be attacked by animals, which you can land on to destroy. If you eliminate three of the same creatures in a row, you’ll earn a special power-up that flies you further along the track. Take out three squirrels, for example, and a giant ninja squirrel will let you ride on its back, collecting coins and landing each jump perfectly for a limited time.
This concept, which we greatly enjoyed in the original Ninjump and Ninjump Deluxe, goes a long way towards adding a small amount of strategy to an otherwise typical auto-running game. When you’re focused on earning a fun power-up, avoiding jumps and collecting coins seems secondary. Your reward for successfully striking the correct creatures is an amusing ride. Our personal favorite is the Godzilla-sized panda, with a frightening pair of glowing blue eyes.
Ninjump Rooftops also introduces new power-ups, like a sushi roll that has the same effect on your ninja that mushrooms have on Mario. After you’ve run as far as possible, you’ll also be able to continue running with premium currency called jade, or move on to a simple Plinko-style minigame, where you can earn more coins or power-ups for the next run.
Ninjump Rooftops doesn’t offer a wide variety of experiences, but aiming for three animals in a row remains a clever twist. Since it’s a free download, fast and easy to play, and will likely make you smile, we have no trouble recommending this charming game.