Wednesday nights are always a guaranteed smorgasbord of new content that will fill our remaining phone-space, but occasionally a game sneaks into the download queue that surprises us with its catchiness. This week, that game is Ninja Warrior Temple: a simple arcade ninja’em-up that is built for short burst, hair-tearing play.
The game pits your armless ninja hero against a series of levels occupied by various obstacles. Your only goal is to make it to the stairs on each stage, but anything from spikes to traps, enemy ninjas, swinging mallets, and giant bosses may stand in your way. Your ninja has contextual abilities available to bypass these dangers—including double-jumps, rolls, and shurikens—but the tiniest tap from any of the obstacles will cost you a life, killing your ninja in an eruption of red pixels.
It’s vaguely reminiscent of 99 Challenges! except that after three deaths, you’ll have to start over from the very beginning.
Most of the levels remain the same on each attempt, creating a Mega Man-like need to memorize the best way through (in addition to actually physically accomplishing that method). This provides a sense of progress even if you find yourself repeatedly dying in the same spot, although random events are occasionally thrown in as well. Some intermediate stages require you to snag a key to unlock the stairs while shurikens bombard you from offscreen. Or, after death, you may be sent to ninja Hell and given a chance to come back—assuming you can make it past all the spikes and falling platforms.
Each stage awards a maximum of 10 points, detracting points every two seconds. Although besting your own high score or that of friends provides an immediate goal, there does appear to be an end to the ninja temple after 70 levels—if anyone can make it that far. We’re still trying to get to stage 20.
Ninja Warrior Temple is free to play, free to die, and free to retry again and again. Get it on the App Store.