Angry Birds gave rise to a flock of clones for mobile devices, some overtly lifting the entire mechanics of these grouchy avians, but a few have taken the basic notion of a physics “Launching” game and put their own spin on it. The Legend of Fat Ninja is one such game, and it has players fire a portly ninja out of a giant slingshot, then bounce him around a Japanese village in a quest to gather the ingredients for the perfect meal.
The titular character, Fat Ninja, is not only a Ninja – he is also a chef! And, apparently, he isn’t the only ninja chef either, because each level has him trying to steal food from rivals, while defending his own supplies from enemy henchmen.
This attack-and-defend principle helps separate The Legend of Fat Ninja from other casual games of the same concept. On each level, Players will need to destroy a certain number of henchmen who move around the levels; only then will the boss ninja appear. At that point, players have to repeatedly hit the boss who remains stationary in one part of the level.
Doing so requires carefully aiming Fat Ninja when he is fired from his slingshot, but also precise control of him while he is in flight. Once launched, Fat Nina will zoom across the level, and bounce anytime he strikes an object, animal or person. Unlike Angry Birds, Fat Ninja won’t come to a rest after hitting a target, but will bounce around the level for several minutes at a time. He only stops if he hits the ground. At which point, the Player looses a life, and there are three lives per level.
Players can aim Fat Ninja’s initial trajectory, but after that, they have very little control over him. They can tap anywhere on the screen to make him briefly fly in that direction, but he only do this a limited number of times before he needs to recharge. Each time he hits an object, he gains one additional boost, but can only hold three at a time.
Early on in the levels, this isn’t a problem, because there are plenty of objects and people on the levels, and these will break his fall and recharge the boost power. But as objects are destroyed and the levels become more sparse, it means that players have to very accurately aim their boosts, in order to ensure that they strike some object (To recharge their boost for the next leap).
This limited control becomes very frustrating as the levels get more difficult. Higher level bad guys have many henchmen who have to be cleared out before players can take on the boss, and eventually these henchmen wear armor, making it exceedingly difficult to bring them down.
There aren’t checkpoints, so players who manage to get rid of all the henchmen, only to die while fighting the boss will have to replay from the start of that level.
The Legend of Fat Ninja also gets repetitive quickly. The basic gameplay mechanics don’t change, and there are only six levels at the moment. Even though there are multiple levels with different layouts, players will still bounce around them in pretty much the same manner.
With the character only being able to hold three boosts at a time, this can cause massive problems with a single mistake. Aiming poorly, or accidentally tapping the wrong part of the screen could use up a Player’s final boost, thereby leaving Fat Ninja helplessly drifting through the level.
The Legend of Fat Ninja is out now for iOS devices. While it isn’t for hardcore gamers, it does have some fast-paced but frustrating action for casual gamers.