Video games are a powerful media. They can make us angry, they can fill us with delight. They can even make us mourn. It could be argued that it takes a great game to give us an emotional or physical response. 10 Second Ninja made my eyeballs dry and my thumbs sore.
I was introduced to the game at one of the Gaming At Rob's events, where we passed the controller around the room, collaboratively making progress through the game. Then it hit me. I became the beast. Eyes widened, my grip tightened. Nobody else was getting a turn until Robot Hitler was dead.
In 10 Second Ninja, you play as a pyjama-clad swordsman who has only 10 seconds on each level to dispatch all of the robots on the screen. The final level in each world has you facing off against the mechanised maniac himself, Robot Hitler.
The game has the kind of direct, snappy controls that were featured in titles like Super Meat Boy and N+ with wall and double-jumps to boot. Like those two games, you will die frequently and spectacularly. A usual level consists of about a couple of seconds of gameplay, followed by your spleen being mounted on the wall, with a quick tap of the RB button throwing you back into the mix to do it all over again.
Fans of Super Meat Boy and N+ shouldn't hesitate, as this game is clearly for you. However, those who found those titles frustrating shouldn't be scared off. I found 10 Second Ninja far more accessible than it's competitors, with most levels being easily achievable in under 10 seconds after a few tries. The true challenge is found in repeating those levels and seeking out the most efficient paths to get the coveted 3-star rating and climbing up the leaderboards. The enemies pose little threat to you, a fact that is humorously referred to in the cutscenes, where the robots plead with Hitler to provide them with weapons. The challenge is in your speed and precision in navigating the level and making best use of the sword and 3 shurikens provided.
Ninja also features music from one of my personal favourites, Tim Rurkowski, whose music also featured in Dudeski. It's a good thing too, as you are going to be staring at a screen watching your pathetic attempts to finish a level again and again, so his loops go some way to making sure that it isn't a frustrating experience.
Go play 10 Second Ninja, but just remember to pass the pad when it isn't your turn any more, or play it in private where you are less likely to upset people. Oh and don't forget to blink.
10 Second Ninja is available now on Steam.