Clumsy Ninja, the long-awaited app from London tech gurus NaturalMotion has finally arrived, and I’m betting it’s how a lot of kids will be spending screen time over the holidays. To be honest, you might catch me sneaking away to my room to play for fifteen or twenty minutes here or there myself.
The game concept for Clumsy Ninja is really simple–the ninja is clumsy. He wants to not be clumsy. You need to teach him, via lessons from his sensei, how to be a master ninja. Lesson one: shake the ninja’s hand. Lesson two: tickle him. It goes on from there, and you’ll find yourself lifting the clumsy ninja in the air, tying balloons to his arms and feet, teaching him to jump on the trampoline, and so on.
What makes the game so amazing is the lifelike movement of the clumsy ninja. It took Natural Motion ten years to perfect it, and I’d say they’ve mastered it in a way that is artistically beautiful–it looks like a Pixar movie–and delightfully fun.
You start to feel a connection to the ninja as he follows you with his eyes (yep, the designers figured out how to do that, which is pretty amazing). Push him on the shoulder and he’ll stumble backward. Pick him up and hang him from the roof, and he’ll wiggle to get down. You have to try it out to see how special this is. And it’s funny, because he’s, well, clumsy. It’s classic slapstick for the 21st century.
Although the app is free, there are many opportunities to buy more gems, the currency of Clumsy Ninja’s world, throughout the game, so be wary of this aspect, parents. Some game features won’t even unlock until you have enough gems to get them, and it can be frustrating to do the simpler tasks over and over to earn gems if you don’t want to pay for in-app purchases. One more downside–it’s only available for iOS at this point, with no plans for Android in their future. Boo.
My kids are just starting out in the game, but they love it so far. And to be honest, I hope these designers succeed. Because if this game becomes the hit I think it will be, we’ll start getting a lot more games with this fun sense of style and attention to detail.
Start playing with the Clumsy Ninja app for iOS today. You’ll be surprised how much fun it is.