Nitro Ninjas Game

Nitro Ninjas – Lacking in explosives but heavy on the aerial acrobatics performed by ninjas on a motorbike: what more do you need?

It’s got Ninja in the Title

This game is a perfect example of my embarrassingly strong susceptibility to the power of words. More specifically, I often find myself drawn to a game by its title alone if said title contains any one or a combination of the following words: Fire, Explosion, Zombie, Nuclear, Apocalypse, Gun, Bang, Smash, Kill, Death, Target, Destination, Ninja, and indeed any name – chemical or trademark  - of any explosive in existence. You my just scoff and write this off as me being a human male, but it comes down to the fact that any word equivalent of a shiny metal object can lure me in, and with the title Nitro Ninjas, my brain had to struggle pretty violently not to simply melt with excitement. Yes, I’m the human equivalent of a dog with severe attention deficit disorder, but unlike a canine, I am able to play and evaluate a game based on its worthiness to entertain. Nitro Ninjas is a stylish-looking side-scrolling motorbike game from Spil Games, but does it have any substance?

Ride of Honour

Well if we haven’t got ourselves a title that combines motorbike-based stunts with ninjas! Most males on the planet were probably sold on the game at ‘Ninjas’ but I’ll continue for the sake of the minority. Nitro Ninjas is essentially a game that involves scrolling from one side of a level to another, riding up and down the ramps, loop-the-loops, and over the various pitfalls and drops that make the game a little more challenging. It is commonplace for side-view motorbike titles such as these to have some pretty challenging physics that holds everything together, and this game is no exception. You must control the momentum of the bike using the upwards directional arrow to accelerate; standard procedure thus far, wouldn’t you agree? The art of not falling directly on top of your skull when jumping is made possible with the left and right directional arrows, which tilt your bike backwards and forwards in order to keep yourself as level as possible depending on the ground you are about to land on. Spacebar allows you to perform a jump, which increases your height considerably if used when speeding up a ramp or upwards gradient.

Tricky Situations

Where does the ninja part come in to all this then? Well, aside from the fact that the rider is actually a ninja, the “samurai” aspect of the whole thing that justifies the use of the oriental-rock fusion background music is the fact that you can perform 4 different tricks while in mid air, the successful completion of which leads to the topping up of your ‘nitro’ bar. This is also where the ‘nitro’ half of the title comes in to play, since filling up the bar will cause you to go into nitro mode whereby you travel in a very quick fashion with a flame trailing behind you to indicate the ferocity of your haste. The tricks are performed by pressing number keys 1-4 whilst in mid-air and they include ‘One-Arm Assassin’, a ‘Helicopter Kick’, a ‘double front kick’, and a ‘jump and slice’. Of course, these moves are really just tricks for the sake of tricks, and would be pointless if they weren’t intended to be the whole point of the game. Well, I guess they fill up the nitro bar and let us see ninjas using their swords in mid air, though this is hardly a solid reason for doing minor aerial acrobatics.

Less than Explosive

Nitro Ninjas isn’t a bad concept, and the execution of the game isn’t far from being perfectly acceptable as a stunt-performing motorbike game. The problem is that everything is a little too easy, namely the tricks which don’t even require button combinations, only the press of a number to execute them. This wouldn’t fly in Mortal Kombat (the brutalities often required a string of commands so extensive that it made remembering the first 30 digits of PI look like an easy task), and it doesn’t fly here, unfortunately. The game is good, but it isn’t great; a little more challenge would have gone a long way.