Disclaimer: A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for this review.
10 Second Ninja X is not a game for everybody. In fact, the intense difficulty is enough to turn most people away from even attempting to play. Don’t let the cute visuals fool you, the game is absolutely relentless from the get-go. The main concept is that players have 10 seconds to take out all of the robots in a particular level. All of the enemies are scattered throughout the level and it’s up to the player to find the fastest way to eliminate them.
There’s not much in terms of a story here, but I was constantly reminded of the Sonic The Hedgehog franchise throughout the game. The villain is reminiscent to Eggman and he even sticks animals into robots that are trying to kill our hero. Additionally, a lot of the robots look like E-102 from Sonic Adventure.
While 10 Second Ninja X is an action oriented title, I would actually call it a puzzle game. Similar to games found on mobile, 10 Second Ninja X adopts a 3 star rating model. Completing a level nets you one star and finishing faster will award you more stars. It’s easy to finish a level, but finding the correct path to achieve three stars is a difficult task. In fact, some levels took me 30-40 minutes in order to find the right way to unlock the highest score. For people who want some help in a level, tokens can be used to show an outline of another ninja taking the ideal pathway to three stars. Tokens are limited, but if you want to unlock more of them, successfully completing an increasingly difficult minigame will give 5 tokens per level.
Controls are simplistic and our hero never gains new abilities. He can move, jump, double jump, slash with a sword, and throw (up to three) ninja stars. Despite the minimal features in 10 Second Ninja X, the game never felt boring or uninspired. In fact, every world felt fresh, unique, and fun. Although we never learn anything new throughout the campaign, the enemies get tougher and each new locale usually brings a unique gimmick that accompanies the latest set of levels. Completing the game’s 60 base levels will take a short time if you don’t go after all of the stars. Seeking 3 stars on every level will add a few hours of gameplay. After the campaign, there are retro levels that come from the original 10 Second Ninja that will challenge players.
Lastly, achievement hunters will have a crazy challenge on their hands. One of the achievements tasks players with obtaining 3 stars on EVERY level in addition to getting an X rank on all of the marathon runs. The marathon sections require players to go through all 10 levels from a world in one run. A rank is given based on how fast the marathon was completed, how many retries were used and how many deaths occurred. In my time with the marathon portions of 10 Second Hero X, I was only able to earn an S rank. The mode requires precision and only true ninja masters will be able to conquer this daunting task.
10 Second Hero X is an extremely fun indie game that will certainly test your reflexes, precision, and brainpower. It’s oftentimes unforgiving, but always rewarding. This is a game that can be played for hours on end or for a few runs here and there. It’s cute, humorous, and a fun time all throughout. In an industry where the Summer months are usually scarce when it comes to video game releases, it’s great to see that such an awesome title hit the Xbox One Game Store. If you’re up for the challenge, 10 Second Ninja X is a great game to sit back and enjoy.