Clumsy Ninja is Naturalmotion Games’ newest creation. Originally announced at the iPhone 5 event last September, the release of the game was severely delayed. Though it has been available in several other countries months before it hit the US App Store, the game officially became available November 21.
Clumsy Ninja follows the life of an adorable 3D ninja as the gameplayer helps him train to become a master ninja and find his friend Kira.
The ninja’s training methods are unconventional because any activity performed with him gains experience points. Jumping on trampolines, pelting him with an array of fruit and throwing him through a selection of hoops are just a few of the ninja’s training tactics.
The adorable gaming character charmed his way to the top-25 iOS apps within three days of its debut. But what makes the ninja so charming?
Well, besides those adorable green eyes of his, the ninja acts very similar to a virtual pet, doing whatever you tell him to — whether you want him to defend himself against fruits or go to sleep is up the gamer.
The ninja has many adorable moments during gameplay. For example, when using the punching bag, the ninja can swing, miss and fall into the most adorable face-plant of all time. After a session on any of the training items, the ninja will walk forward and hold up his hand for a high-five. If the ninja doesn’t ask for the high-five, you can simply pet his head or tickle his belly.
What makes the game attractive to a variety of players is that it doesn’t feel like a game. There are simple instructions and directions for the player to follow making it easy to play. Oftentimes, I find myself just “checking on my ninja” only to look at the clock and find that it’s been at least an hour.
Clumsy Ninja’s best reviews have gamers raving over the easy gameplay and the “endearing nature of the ninja’s character.” The gamers’ worst reviews complain about in-app purchases, with one reviewer commenting that, “It’s like having a [Tamagotchi] that keeps hitting you up for money. People that like this should spend more time with their kids…they are probably less needy.”
However, below the surface of this adorably charming character is gaming innovation at its finest. According to Torsten Reil, the chief executive of NaturalMotion, “This is the first engine that simulates human motion. It models the nervous system, bones, and movement that creates something truly interactive.”
NaturalMotion game designers made painstaking efforts in building this character from the ground up — every motion and emotion was all designed to mimic real-life human reactions and interactions. The ninja was suited up with artificial intelligence and pretty much let loose into a virtual world to see what he would do.
The best thing about this game, in my opinion, is that anyone from the age of eight to eighty can play it. It’s a technologically advanced game masked by simple, mindless fun.
The game has already cultivated a following of intense players — like myself. After the production of such a successful game, we can only expect spectacular updates from Naturalmotion. The future for the clumsy hero and his missing friend is hopefully bright!