Explore the land of Nihon while slaughtering the Eternal Oni's demon army.
Banzai Blade lets you don ninja pajamas and set off through the land of Nihon to annihilate the diabolical Eternal Oni and his demon army. It's a runner that stands out for being in 3D and featuring a heavy dose of combat, where you're able to swipe the screen to slash floating heads and dragons while the little hero presses onward. Not bad, considering it's free, but the controls stumble when the action heats up.
There's little complexity to Banzai Blade, which makes it fairly accessible to players of all skill levels. Monsters appear, and you basically attack them before they return the favor. You'll quickly learn there are creatures of varying difficulties, and this amounts to the number of slashes required to put them down. Tiny red demon heads, for instance, need one strike, while gray ones take a few. Dragons, meanwhile, spit fireballs that you must tap to deflect. It's a solid fighting system overall with a sort of rhythm to it, giving you a chance to anticipate incoming bad guys. That said, the patterns change each time you play, making things less predictable.
Since the game is free, Cartoon Network attempts to make some dough via in-app purchase to acquire virtual currency called Blossoms, used to buy a variety of cool upgrades, from weapons to new outfits and power-ups that extend the character's health and what not. On the positive side, the company doesn't make things unfair, as you're able to pick up thousands of Blossoms from simply playing the game, and even if you do decide to part with some cash, 50,000 Blossoms cost $0.99, while 1,000,000 will run you $4.99, so if anything, it's a bargain.
That aside, Banzai Blade falters the further you progress, when the game asks you to make even quicker decisions. There's precious little time to respond, and enemies tend to score cheap hits, eventually putting the ninja out of commission and forcing you to restart from the beginning. We also hate the Fruit Ninja-style bombs that deal mega damage when accidentally struck. These tend to appear out of nowhere and don't mesh well with the enemies. Bottom line, it's much tougher to hit a monster than a banana.
At the same time, there's plenty to like about Banzai Blade, and the fact that it's free makes it an impulse download you won't regret. Far from exceptional, but definitely worth playing a few times a day.
What's Hot: Addictive 3D runner complete with combat, a variety of weapons and outfits to buy, little pressure to spend real money, free to play.
What's Not: Bombs, cheap enemies.