Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Ninja Captains

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

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            Ninja Captains has arrived at European retail today on both Wii and Nintendo DS. Brought to market by up-and-coming publisher Nordcurrent, who are developing a reputation for delivering reliably entertaining packages for the two Nintendo systems, Ninja Captains is a compilation of twenty unique mini-games, guided by the story of four rather daft ninja cats.

            The game consists of both a Story Mode and the option to play mini-games individually, known as Party Mode. Story Mode sees you touring the world, with enjoyable animations between Electronic Theatre Imageeach game telling the tale of our misguided feline protagonists. Each new setting gives way to a new mini-game, each of which is unique in the task set for the player. Stumbling Servers tasks the player with delivering dishes to tables upon a boat sailing through turbulent seas, using the Nunchuk’s Analogue Stick to move and tilting the Wii Remote to balance, whilst Bus Surfing sees the player riding atop a bus, moving the Nunchuk down to duck under overhanging branches and the Wii Remote up to jump. These two games demonstrate the polar extremes of Ninja Captains included mini-games, with Stumbling Servers being an enjoyable, well devised tense few moments of gaming, and Bus Surfing being an annoyingly designed and poorly executed waggle-fest wherein luck is generally your only hope of success.

            With only twenty mini-games included on the disc, Ninja Captains fails to live-up to the standards set by the likes of Mario Party, but manages to out-do most of the recent competition, including SEGA’s Wacky World of Sports, by sheer number alone. The Story Mode can be played through with up to four players, with each of the games played-through in sequence. Once a game has been completed in Story Mode it becomes availableElectronic Theatre Image in Party Mode, where the player is free to try and beat their own score and achieve Bronze, Silver or Gold standard medals (displayed as a shuriken atop the game on the selection screen), or upgrade their score from a Baby mode entry. Baby Mode becomes available in Story Mode after repeated failed attempts at a specific game, and is an interesting design decision implemented to prevent players from becoming stuck on a single game. Unlike the aforementioned Wacky World of Sports, even with four human players, there’s no guarantee of success.

            The Party Mode follows the traditional set-up you’d expect: players choose their character from the four available ninjas, and then select a game from a detailed map screen which displays the highest score achieved. Some time will undoubtedly be spent attempting to out-do each others scores, and Ninja Captains is clearly at it’s best when played with friends, though it’s for that reason that the lack of any online play options feels like a missed opportunity.

            Ninja Captains is a pleasant looking title; far from pushing the Wii’s technical capabilities to the limit but designed with a unique styleElectronic Theatre Image in mind. The creation-paper style of the cut-scenes is an inspired choice, allowing humour to be portrayed through minimal animation, and the in-game Character Models are perfectly realised with individuality in each location, and with each ninja. The sound, however, relies far too heavily on an irritating theme tune, and with no dialogue there is very little to warrant a lack of accompaniment from your own personal collection.

            Nordcurrent’s reputation will have another string attached to it’s bow today, as while Ninja Captains may not break the mould, it has been delivered without the hallmarks of a cheap cash-in title. The game clearly displays the development teams’ enthusiasm for creating a unique Intellectual Property (IP) and though there are many flaws, the quality of the package as a whole is far greater than the sum of it’s parts. Ninja Captains may not lead a revolution in videogame development, but right now on Wii it’s a frontrunner in its genre. Electronic Theatre Image




















And don’t forget: you can win your very own copy of Ninja Captains for Wii right here!

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