When we used to think of ninjas, the first thought that came to mind was the stealthy assassin, swiftly moving through the darkness and taking out foes when they least expected it. Then Freeverse showed us what the true badass ninja carries at all times: a parachute hat. With solid gameplay to back up this crazy contraption, Parachute Ninja is extremely enjoyable.
Each level consists of slingshots that catch and release your ninja, who for some reason is shaped like a ball. Launching him is as easy as sliding your finger down on the screen. A directional guide comes up to show you his trajectory, which is very helpful. You can also use your parachute to control his movements and speed of descent in the air by tilting the phone. At first we found the accelerometer to be unreliable, but after some practice, we got used to it.
Ninja ball owns the night.
To keep up the challenge, new elements are added as you play through the story mode. One example is fans, which shoot you upward when your parachute is open. The closer you are to the fan when you open your parachute, the higher you go. There are also enemies that can be taken out by bouncing on top of them, slingshots that only last for a short period of time, trampolines that you can tilt, spike-filled walls, and many more to be discovered.
The story mode tells of a young ball-shaped boy whose parents die in a fire. He goes to his only remaining relative, Master Yo, who tells him that his father was the keeper of the secret ninja scrolls and he must go stop an enemy with malicious plans. Artistic still-image cutscenes tell the tale, although after the initial levels they seem to disappear and the potentially interesting story takes a backseat.
Every ninja’s greatest enemy: the spike wall.
There are 30 story levels that are full of tricky challenges to overcome. Since you have unlimited lives, the goal is to collect as many fireflies as possible to fill up your points meter. If you miss a jump, the ninja ball falls into the water, losing you a few points and sending you back to the previous checkpoint. A few levels change up the gameplay by having you descend downwards with your parachute.
Also available is a survival mode. Here you can play a randomly generated level whenever you have a free moment. The catch here is that the water below you is constantly rising, forcing you to keep moving up at a steady pace. Plus+ integration offers the usual array of leaderboards and achievements.
Parachute Ninja is a game with wide appeal, and it works almost seamlessly on the iPhone. After you get over an initial struggle with the tilt controls, there is little holding you back from diving into this game, no parachute required.