10 Second Ninja Review: Frustratingly Fun

Created by Dan Pearce with a soundtrack by Tim Rurkowski, 10 Second Ninja is a time-attack, 2-D action platformer. You play as a ninja, and it is your job to destroy all the Nazi Robots from space because their leader, Robot Hitler, is out to get you. (As a note for German readers/players, there is a censored version in accordance with Strafgesetzbuch section 86a that outlaws symbols from unconstitutional organizations.) You have 10 seconds per stage to defeat all the enemies; they don’t attack you or fight back. Time and spikes are the only ways to die.


There’s a three-star rating in each stage, and your time determines how good you score. With 40 levels and 120 stars, there is plenty of replaying involved.  I’m awful at games like this, but I couldn’t stop playing 10 Second Ninja. I kept wanting the better score and more stars; it’s incredibly addicting. There is a leaderboard with your Steam friends to keep you competing for the best time for the world, and shaving just milliseconds off your time in a stage can give your overall score a boost.


I played with the keyboard, though the game does have controller support, and I found it a little difficult at first. However, after rebinding the keys in the Options menu, I did a lot better. (I kept accidentally hitting spacebar as my jump, which reset the level in the original key bindings.) Repeating levels to get more stars, in order to unlock the boss level and move to the next world, can get a bit tedious if you’re not finding the fastest way to beat the level, but with each level only lasting ten seconds, it’s not hard to keep moving on.


10 Second Ninja is great game for playing in either short or long sittings. I found myself playing for extended periods of time when unlocking new stages and shorter amounts of time when I was just looking to beat my personal record in a stage or two. Any time I messed up the time or fell to the death on spikes, I had no one to blame but myself. After a while, I could start to pinpoint which run was starting out better than another and would often fast-reset (spacebar on preset keyboard bindings) to quickly start over rather than waiting for the timer to run out.


10 Second Ninja is fast-paced and highly-addicting with a great sense of humor from the very start.  The game will be released on March 5, 2014 for $9.99 USD, and it is available through Steam and Get Games Go. For more information on the game, you can visit the 10 Second Ninja website, and check out Tim Rurkowski’s soundcloud for the game’s soundtrack.

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