April 29, 2011

Review – Nin2-Jump

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 2:17 pm

Nin2 Jump
Between the release of bullethell shooters that keep the name Cave warm in the hearts of the gaming faithful, the niche developer’s latest offering tackles the platforming genre and gives players a chance to perform puppet theater for an audience.

NIN-JA finds himself caught up in a classic quest to save a Princess, his striking red scarf always caught on the fixed wind in a world of painted backdrops and paper characters. Animation is largely reserved for the audience occupying the bottom of the screen, ever anxious and vocal while watching the player navigate Cave’s obstacle course.

Nin2 Jump
Cave has divided the game into five worlds, each with nine challenge stages, with a tenth reserved for boss encounters. And while first impressions leave the playing seemingly as simplistic as the quirky visual style, a certain familiar sadism sets in to keep players from early ego boosts.

That’s not to say that the brief deviation will last players very long however – tourists could easily breeze through the game in an hour or two. The scoring emphasis of Nin2-Jump is concerned with time though, and capturing that elusive S Rank by shaving down every possible second through each stage offers cause for continued revisits.

NIN-JA’s quest to save Princess Sakura by collecting ninja scrolls layers a series of basic abilities as players progress through levels identified by seasons. Players begin with only the ability to jump, later gaining the ability to grapple and launch off walls and use scroll powers to destroy enemies by touching them. It sounds deceptively simple really, but by the time players reach the final castle all those elements combine to fill the screen with Cave brand chaos.

Nin2 Jump
It’s funny that the early stages inevitably sound simplistic due to the limited abilities NIN-JA possesses – they are in fact a bit hellish insofar as mastering time scores is concerned. When later levels allowed the use of scroll powers and changed the emphasis to include destroying enemies, I had a far easier time speeding through stages with lower time scores – though I think some of that owes to a floaty jumping mechanic that took a bit of time adjusting to. NIN-JA can feel rather twitchy at times too, particularly when riding on elevators.

Along the way I also reconnected with a want of Zen in regards to the grappling ability, a skill that makes it incredibly tempting to hammer on buttons and occasionally reach the goal by complete chance. It is far more satisfying to take a patient approach, using NIN-JA’s abilities effectively with the environment, but there were dozens of times when the game’s zoo of villains and sadistic obstacles caused me to see the gruesome death sequence once again and toss peace of mind to the wind while my blood-pressure spiked and my controller suffered.

Nin2 Jump
Speaking of enemies, for a game that locks characters onto sticks, Nin2-Jump manages to provide a charming variety of creatures, from birds to bats to a few I’m not so sure of. There’s an immediate novelty to the design, but also a personality that emerges along the way – perhaps aided by the consistently comedic audio cues from both NIN-JA and the audience – sternly worded bits and high-pitched audience squeals combine to make one of the most amusing sound experiences of the year.

Enemies only appear half way through the game however, with the exception of a death creature that appears when players take too long through stages, and just for kicks in the final castle. The rest of the challenges involve obstacle courses filled with spikes and saws as players work to collect every scroll in order to reveal the doorway – signature Cave logos can also be found laying around stages for the completion-minded that have the time to spare.

The oddity factor and minimal point expenditure make Nin2-Jump easy to recommend – the game will certainly add a conversation piece to your digital library while also offering an outlet for quick challenges that are easy to drop in and out of with little commitment – I rather appreciate that the company didn’t double up the stages with repetitive play simply to double the asking price. Nin2-Jump also offers a score attack mode should you feel like whipping around the seasons with a different set of priorities.

If you’re wanting for extra incentive to spend a few points, Cave has also announced that all sales of Nin2-Jump between the release date and June 30th will be contributed to relief efforts in Japan.



Xbox 360 (Xbox LIVE Arcade)


Release Date
April 27, 2011

400 Microsoft Points

*A copy of this title was purchased by Gamesugar for review

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress