9 Iron Ninja Review

9 Iron Ninja Review

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.

Scorched Monster Review

Scorched Monster Review

May 3, 2012

Scorched Monster brings together the kind of arena survival popularized in the modern era by Super Crate Box (and iterated by Muffin Knight on Android) and one of the original games in the genre: the original Mario Bros. from Nintendo. Players control a flamethrower-wielding man, who must go around and scorch monsters, presumably because they are monsters. Hopefully our protagonist understands what Nietzche once said about monsters. The goal of the game is to try and achieve the goal score on each level, rack up high scores, and increase rank with successful playthroughs until the rank of “Scorch Master” is achieved.

It’s actually difficult, if not outright impossible, to be hurt by the enemies themselves, which makes killing them easy, just come in close proximity to them to activate the flamethrower and kill them. It’s something that has to be learned, as my automatic reaction to enemies at first was “I should probably not touch them”, though until I tested whether this was true or not, I avoided bopping enemies on the head. Thankfully, they just get scorched immediately.

The pixel art looks great. The game is colorful and the pixels are crisp – the game is definitely a looker for fans of the retro art style. The game uses virtual controls, but they’re very accurate, I had no issues with them at all. The left and right arrows are spaced well enough apart to where I never had any accidental inputs.

Scorched Monster is set up great for both short sessions and long-term play. Levels take 45 seconds each (though additional time powerups can be collected), and then each level’s score goes toward a total 10 level score. Games can be picked up and resumed at any point. Then, there’s the long-term play, as the goal score in each level increases, because only true Scorch Masters should be given that rank.

The game does get a bit repetitive over time. The level layouts don’t appear to change much, though the backgrounds change. Levels use many of the same tricks, such as spikes that are on ceilings, making them tricky to jump through. The enemy types only really vary in terms of their appearance and score types, they don’t do anything besides walk around.

Scorched Monster is a fun retro-style diversion for Android. The game comes in both ad-supported and paid versions, though it appears as if the ads are only in the menu, not in the game itself. Remember, supporting indie devs is always a good thing! This is a fun game, worth the download.