Review: Atomic Ninjas
Grip Games studio came up with the idea of creating a multiplayer-oriented platformer. It was supposed to be dynamic, original and fun, but how is it in reality?
The game is devoid of single-player mode and it is worth keeping this in mind from the very beginning. For this reason, the plot is limited to an uninteresting cinematic, followed by a short, simple tutorial. Thanks to it, the player learns about weapons, ways of moving and the rules of the game.
These are quite original. Enemies cannot be hurt directly. To pacify your opponent, you need to push them into some deadly element of the arena (lava, lasers, water, chasms, etc.). For this purpose, you use one of several weapons that allow you to push it away. All the fun is therefore limited to flanking enemies near the traps. The variety is the modes known from FPS (capture the flag, deathmatch, king of the hill, domination). They have been known for years and you hardly need them present. It is only worth saying that there are also team variations (2 × 2).
After completing the tutorial, you can proceed to the actual gameplay. Before joining a match or creating your own, you choose a ninja (initially one of seven is available) and a special skill (stronger hit, faster movement, hiding, etc.). Next comes the first rasp, i.e. joining the game. There are relatively few players, so there is a shortage of people in the rooms. When creating your own, you can wait a few minutes before gathering four people. The creators, wanting to remedy this, made it possible to set up a maximum of two bots instead of live players, but playing with them is not very interesting. There is no chat in the lobby so that you can decide with the host whether to wait for e.g. the last player or start with a bot. Often there are also problems with the connection (sometimes I had to wait 2-3 minutes for the error message). All this means that playing a five-minute match sometimes requires 10 minutes of searching for the game.
Once the fun starts, things look much better. The gameplay is dynamic, there is always something going on. Defeating opponents gives a lot of satisfaction (although with more experienced players I managed to play literally twice for several dozen games). Unfortunately, the host (randomly selected by the game) with a poor connection becomes a lot of trouble. Having no delays, it has a visible advantage over other players, which makes the fun irritating. There is also a problem with other people leaving the game. It has no consequences and is widespread. Such a player is replaced with a bot. If he was the host, the game draws someone else, but it takes some time and additionally spoils the fun.
The balance of weapons also leaves a lot to be desired. Apparently, every weapon has its advantages and disadvantages, but I only used the rocket conveniently and sensibly to move and strike at close range. In the case of other equipment, it is necessary to aim with the right analog, which prevents simultaneous jumping (cross) and significantly reduces the character. Often, I was also unable to understand the principle of how the game computes the impact force. Once, I managed to throw an opponent into orbit, and another time, in a similar situation, I barely moved him. They also annoy bots that can fly all the time (using a rocket you can do it only for a while), and by shooting shurikens they hit like a machine gun (the player can fire a limited series). The “noob frenzy” that activates after several deaths in a row is also thoughtless. The character engulfed by it is inviolable and pushes away everything it comes close to. In the case of team games, this gives a huge and even unfair advantage.
When it comes to graphics and board designs, it’s hard to fault something. The arenas are interesting and quite extensive, so everyone will find something for themselves. The binding is the recently popular 2.5D. The backgrounds move and the characters are well animated, although it could be a bit more effective. The only surprise is the noticeable drops in animation fluidity at certain moments, but this is nothing that would prevent the gameplay. Music is a plus. Each board has a different melody in the background and even a 15-minute game (the longest variant) does not cause boredom with the audio background. The characters make funny noises that you stop paying attention to after a while.
Is Atomic Ninjas a good game? It depends. If you find smart players who don’t come out when they lose, and if the host provides a smooth gameplay, then yes. However, if any of the above conditions are not met, the gameplay is simply irritating. Problems with joining games and a small number of players are irritating. And most importantly – boredom. Once you’ve unlocked everything that takes one intense day of play, there’s nothing to do in Atomic Ninjas. At some point, the gameplay becomes schematic, and after unlocking all the trophies, there’s no need to continue playing. The scoreboard does not save the situation, because badly balanced modes allow you to gain experience very quickly (e.g. king of the hill). To sum up – for PLN 39, I think it’s not worth it. For half the price – by all means.
My game rating: 6
Pros / Pros:
Curious idea for gameplay / Original gameplay concept
Requires combining and gives satisfaction / Player needs to think
A lot of game modes
Characteristic, various maps
Graphics and music / Graphics and music
Cons / Cons:
Currently, a small number of players for now
Time-consuming creation and joining games / Starting to play takes too much time
Simultaneous jumping and aiming in the same time
Poor balance of weapons
Studying experience is unbalanced and some modes allow you to gain levels too quickly / Some of game modes let players earn experience too easy
Host with a bad connection has a big advantage against other players
Quickly gets boring
No chat in lobby / No chat in lobby
We would like to thank Grip Games for submitting the game for review / Thanks for Grip Games for providing a review copy.