Okay, let’s get this out of the way. The TD in the name “Ninja TD” stands for Tower Defense.
Now that half the audience has left with a groan, we can get on with the review.
The tower defense genre has quite a healthy representation on the iPhone. Should you care about another one? With a few unique twists, Ninja TD may very well be worth your attention.
Ninja TD is a beautiful game. It feels very complete, with quality graphics, unique creeps and menus that actually make sense. On the surface, it looks like it could have come from a big developer. But this is Crazy Carpenter’s only iPhone game. The only thing that gives it away is the Engrish peppered throughout the game. It doesn’t hurt the gameplay, and actually adds to the atmosphere a bit, in a Mr. Miyagi sort of way.
Ninja TD has five environments with six different levels in each. With two difficulty levels plus infinite mode on each map, you could say the game has 90 levels, and you would almost be right. The difficulty levels vary only in the amount of starting resources and the number of waves.
These spells become essential to beating a level. For example, every tenth wave is a mini-boss. It’s often impossible to kill these bosses in one pass, but a properly placed tornado will spin the boss back to the beginning, so you can hammer away at it again. On one map, I got greedy and used the golden ninja too many times. At the end, I didn’t have enough magic points to spin the boss back, and I lost by one hit point. Ninja TD will teach you to plan intricate strategies the hard way.
Presentation & Graphics
Ninja TD looks and feels like a premium game, despite the indie developer and low price. The maps are detailed and challenging. The ninjas are cute. The creeps are extra creepy and original. One creep even walks on bent nails.
The music is generic RPG orchestra music, which isn’t a bad thing at all. The creeps all make interesting sounds when they die. Some plink or pop or shriek, but the best is the snort from the loping green lizard creature. I could just kill green lizard creatures all day long.
Ninja TD is very engrossing. It starts out almost too difficult. The first two or three levels had me questioning whether or not I wanted to keep playing. But after I got to know the little ninjas better, I couldn’t put it down. Until you really get the hang of things, this game will punish you. When you finally discover the best strategy and beat a map, you’ll feel like you’ve really accomplished something. Ninja TD is about as good as an iPhone tower defense game can get, right now, but for the lag.
The 30 maps and two difficulty levels and infinite mode will take quite some time to play through, but regardless of the number of levels, the game is just fun. You’ll want to go back and replay levels. You won’t open up all of the ninja and magic types until halfway through the maps, so it’s quite rewarding to go back to the beginning maps and clean house with the more powerful ninjas. Even though the game originally included plenty of content to keep you happy for quite some time, the developer has just added ten new maps and the endless mode. Of course, that usually means there will be more updates in the near future. What more could you ask?
Game Rating – EDITOR’S CHOICE
I thoroughly enjoy playing Ninja TD. It’s a premium, full-featured game that stands out in a crowd. The imaginative characters and unique magic system give it more depth than I expected to see in yet another TD game. If it’s your first tower defense game or your tenth, Ninja TD should keep you happy for months. Wave 168 and counting!