Nov 30, 2012
9-Iron Ninja is an interesting title. The core concept is something that has the potential for real fun, but it feels like it wasn’t completely executed.
The best way to describe the game in relation to existing titles would be Super Stickman Golf Blitz. That is, this is a 2D golf game, like an Artillery game but with golf balls raining from the sky instead of death and destruction. But instead of playing on set courses of different holes, 9 Iron Ninja tkaes players through the game one hole at a time. Players get 6 strokes per level in which to sink the ball. If they don’t, it’s game over. Getting the ball in sooner nets more points, and high scores are definitely the goal here.
The game is free and ad-supported, with stars that can be earned for unlocking new disguises and trophies. The stars that are earned for doing well on a hole are built around a currency system that can be used to unlock new colors and costumes for the ninja, along with trophies. The developer claims that the game is built around being a zen-like experience, and to that end, it is very easy to sink loads of time in to the game, as the experience tends to seamlessly blend one hole into another, even after a game over, which still allows the player to finish their current hole.
But there lies the problem: 9 Iron Ninja seems to lack any kind of punch. The holes can wildly vary in difficulty and they still have the same 6-shot limit, which means that there’s no balancing, and it means that a long session may be a case of just getting the luck of the draw with easy holes. The experience just winds up being a random wandering, rather than anything that drives the player to keep going, keep coming back to the game. The game also desperately needs high-resolution graphics; it looks very blurry on the Nexus 7 and Galaxy S III.
9 Iron Ninja feels a lot like the prototype to a “blitz”-style 2D golf game that I could see being realized at some point in the future. Perhaps someday soon, this will actually be realized, but until then, to get a glimpse of a possible future, download 9 Iron Ninja, but realize that it’s not fully-formed quite yet.