E3 2008: Ninjatown Hands-On Preview

We all know the Tower Defense games have taken off in the last year and a half. What once started as a simple flash game has expanded into a verifiable genre. So what’s someone to do to make their tower defense styled game stand out? The simple answer is to use cute little ninjas.

Ninjatown DS is a game developed by Venan and being released by Southpeak. Based on former EGM editor Shawn Smith’s Shawnimals line of toys, Ninjatown features a colorful cast of cute ninja characters all trying to protect their city from Mr. Demon and his forces.

The plot of the story seems rather simple-Mr. Demon and his demons are trying to destroy Ninjatown-but Shawn was adamant that Ninjatown will have much more than just the simple, possibly cliché setting behind it. Featuring a lot of dialogue and characterization, Ninjatown may be the first tower defense game with a plot and actual characters.

You play the role of Master Ninja, an elderly ninja whose beard showcases his age and glorious wisdom. Flying in a balloon above the battlefield, you command your ninjas to build certain buildings to thwart the advance of Mr. Demon’s forces.

The types of ninjas you can create in Ninjatown vary greatly, and each one has its own unique appearance and function. The basic unit type, Wee Ninja, are the cannon fodder to defeat weaker enemies and distract harder ones. Anti-ninjas are an upgrade from Wee Ninjas, but move very slowly across the battlefield, meaning you need other forces to halt attackers until the Anti-ninjas can get to them. Like other tower defense games, once you build a ninja hut you’re able to upgrade it to increase their effectiveness.

Along with units, Ninjatown features a variety of other "items" for use. From baby ninjas (which distract enemies by their awwww factor) to ninja-droppings, there are plenty of utility characters for you to use in your strategizing.

Master Ninja has his own tricks as well. For example, one trick is activated by blowing into the microphone on the DS, which will send units flying across the map. I’m not sure how often you can use tokens to perform those actions, but it certainly brings the DS’s unique features into the fold.

For fans of ninjas or fans of tower defense games, Ninjatown should be a solid title to go with. The units are fun, the action is as intense as any other great tower defense game, and fighting demons with ninja poop will never, ever get old.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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