I didn’t expect to enjoy Clumsy Ninja. I never understood the appeal of into virtual being simulators like Nintendogs, and Clumsy Ninja didn’t seem all that different. And then I started playing it, and Clumsy Ninja changed the way I think about these types of games. Most importantly, I’m having a really fun time with it.
There are moments where the game can be a little slow and repetitive; nevertheless, if you take your time and play it in short bursts, the experience stays fresh and fun. The game also does a very nice job pulling you back in, even if you don’t play it every day. You can allow notifications to remind you to check up on your ninja if you haven’t checked in for a while. In my experience, the ninja has the tendency to start flying away when I’m not looking.
In Clumsy Ninja, you create a ninja from scratch. He doesn’t have any talent or coordination when you’re first introduced, so it’s up to you to help train him so that he can rescue his friend who’s been kidnapped. You teach the ninja to fight, jump from rooftop to rooftop, and use ninja weapons among other exercises.
When you teach the ninja new skills or complete a training exercise, you’ll gain experience and currency, which can be used to purchase training items and to repair them after you’ve used them for a while. While the core gameplay mechanic of creating a character and training them from scratch has been used a lot over the years, one of the things that amazes me about this game is the responsiveness and the fluidity of movement of your character. This adds a certain hard-to-resist charm to the game. When you finish a training exercise and the Ninja wants you to give him a high-five, you’ll see what I mean.
Sure, this is a freemium title, so of course there are plenty of in-app purchases that can be made, but gaining currency and gems happens regularly just by playing the game, so that doesn’t affect the experience as a whole. Integration with Facebook and Twitter has been built in, so you can share your experiences with friends and invite them to play too.
It’s difficult to describe the appeal of this type of gameplay experience. It’s the kind of game you can talk to people about, and have interesting stories to share about what they see and experience in the game. I have a feeling this is a game people will be talking about for a very long time.