Finally, a game with cute and loveable ninjas that trade swords for hugs.
In most video games, ninjas are violent and carve creatures in half with their swords while performing acrobatic stunts. In Ninjatown, however, the story's a little bit different. These ninjas are shrunken down, huggable beings that love to have fun and kick back without the need to take someone out. Leave it to some moron to come along and throw a monkey wrench in the works.
Things are well in the calm, peaceful Ninjatown until Mr. Demon, a dweller from a nearby volcano, shows up. He brings with him a group of sinister foes that want to do nothing but cause all kinds of havoc and chaos. The Ninjas, somewhat overwhelmed by the arrival of such a dark force, must use everything they have in their arsenal to stop him from overtaking their beloved town. However, instead of using typical ninja tools, such as shurikens and swords, they must rely on more savvy ninja techniques, such as Stealth Hugs and the Mighty Wind of Ninja Dropping. We're not sure how that goes, but it probably involves mid-air flight of some sort.
Ninjatown plays using a top-down perspective, letting you survey the battle area that's ahead of you so you can place your Ninjas wherever they work best. Your job is to overtake Mr. Demon's forces district by district, slowly wiping out his entourage while keeping your Ninjas replenished enough to stay in battle. There's plenty of non-stop strategic action here, but it's of the kid variety, so nothing gets extremely out of hand.
Throughout the game, you'll have access to numerous types of ninjas, from an analyst ninja who gives you a break down of the level that lies ahead to ninjas that float in using air balloons. That sounds unconventional, but it all ties in to the simple yet addictive gameplay. Setting up ninja techniques and attacks is all about timing and placement, but it's never discouraging if your party ends up outnumbered by Mr. Demon's thugs. Best of all, the game is family friendly, as Ninjatown is a popular line of plush toys and other ninja goodies. That means older gamers and kids alike should have no problem picking up this Shawnanimals-licensed game and having a good ol' ninja time.
The cuteness may not be for everyone, especially for those who play Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword. Still, if you want a strategy game that's different, Ninjatown just might be the place for you. We'll let you know when the game releases for Nintendo DS next month.