When we hear the term “8-bit”, we think about entire worlds created with minimal graphical resources, like Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom or Link’s Hyrule. 8bit Ninja is a simple, repetitive, and highly replayable arcade game that doesn’t do a lot with a little– it just does a little with a little.
In 8bit Ninja (no relation to the complex platformer 1-bit Ninja), your goal is to avoid bouncing fruits and stay alive as long as possible. The overall concept is very similar to the game Pang Mobile. You control your ninja by touching arrows to move left or right, and there is also a tilt option. However, we felt that the touch controls should offer more customization, as you are forced to keep your hands low on the screen to reach the arrows. Plus, we’re perplexed that our skilled ninjas don’t have the ability to jump.
All your Fruit Ninja training comes down to this.
The longer you evade the falling fruits, the faster they’ll appear. You can pick up power-ups that randomly drop into the dojo, which let you toss up spinning blades or shuriken strikes. If you time your attacks right, you’ll cut the fruit neatly into pieces, dropping in-game coins and special currency called Dragon Eggs.
Coins are used for upgrading your attacks, and Dragon Eggs let you unlock new arenas and characters, but you’ll have to play for a long time to unlock each one. The characters each have special attacks, which are like power-ups that you can activate whenever your character is charged and ready. Characters are also upgraded automatically the more you play, which is part of what makes 8bit Ninja so fun to replay continually.
8bit Ninja is a free download, so our expectations for extensive gameplay were kept fairly low. If you don’t put in the extra hours or money to unlock extra content, you’ll probably be stuck playing with the same few characters and locations. But the fast, responsive action and potential for new upgrades kept us playing 8bit Ninja longer than we thought we would. For a freemium action game, 8bit Ninja is simple and low-tech, but still fun.