Sep 27, 2013
I feel like I’m going to travel down into the mines myself any minute now. The number of games that have something to do with taking rocks out of Earth’s crust, and that I’ve written reviews for, will soon become immeasurable. And it’s not like I’m a fan of this. My ancestors must have been some sort of miners, since I have this strange attraction to the mining games. Hope some of them were ninjas, too, as Ninja Miner is also about that.
Ninja Miner is a very simple arcade at heart. The hero, not surprisingly, is a ninja miner, who collects precious stones and golden stars, scattered across many levels. The levels are all squarely tiled, and walled in. The miner is controlled by four arrows. He doesn’t move around, but rather, jumps between opposing walls. Probably due to his kneecaps being crushed by a bat as a child, he isn’t able to move differently, so you can’t move him around normally. The whole game is built around this restriction, and the player needs to be aware of his surroundings, in order to evade hazards and enemies, but pick up the gems and stars. Sometimes, there’s also a key or a pickaxe that needs to be picked, in order to move through different parts of the level, but Ninja Miner is generally pretty straightforward. Not easy, but straightforward.
Although Ninja Miner seems a bit cheap at first, there’s a lot of fun behind the primitive idea. The game has parts where fast reaction is required, and it also has parts where the player needs to carefully evaluate his moves. It seems a bit cheap at first, yes. But this feeling quickly moves to the background, and the game engages the player in its gameplay pretty fast. Although the idea of Ninja Miner is quite an old one, the execution is still important, and I think that Ninja Miner nails it pretty nicely.