Atomic Ninjas is a downloadable title from Grip Games that sees you and up to three other ninjas do battle in various arenas. Fear not if your ninja abilities aren’t up to scratch, since you are given lots of skills and weapons to aid you in combat.
The game has a great, if limited, cartoon style and relies on a mix of speed and exaggeration to provide the laughs. If you hit an opponent at the right time, you can send them flying across the map and I was definitely giggling as enemies blew themselves up or fell foul of my ninja skills.
Actually that probably isn’t the best way to describe it, as for the most part my favoured weapon was the boxing glove that sent enemies flying. The key word in the title for this game is ‘Atomic’ and you’ll find yourself moving at lightning speed to capture objectives or take out enemies. As well as the boxing glove, you can equip a force grab to throw boxes and objects at enemies, and even hurl shurikens their way.
However, none of these weapons will actually kill an enemy. You’ll need to knock them into the environmental hazards like water, fire or lava to actually kill them. You have a double jump ability straight from the start and you can additionally use a rope to swing from hooks, claws to pounce between and stick to walls, and even equip a rocket on your back to take flight for a limited time. You can then also utilise abilities such as camouflage, stronger punches or triple jump along with your weapons to give a different flavour to your loadout.
There is a wide selection of different game types which you can set to play for a variety of time lengths, with deathmatch, capture the flag, domination, objectives and a few other options to keep you busy. However, this unfortunately brings me to my biggest issue with the game. It’s difficult to keep busy if you can’t actually get into a game. When I fired up Atomic Ninjas and finished the tutorial I was ready to dish out some shuriken based pain, but it took me almost 15 minutes to get a game going.
If I searched for a game I would get three or four matches to choose from, but whichever I picked would result in ‘Game Full’ or ‘Can’t Connect’ messages. Creating a game wasn’t much better as I was then left waiting for people to join. Thankfully, after a while, we had three people in our room and got going, but for such a fast paced game it was infuriating to have to faff about so much just to get a game started, and it’s a sad sign the the online side isn’t as well populated as it needs to be.
Another issue is that the AI bots that can be used to make up the numbers seem to be far too good, which made the games involving them a lot less fun. Rather than the somewhat madcap action of human vs. human games it became a struggle for us lowly people to attempt to group together and stop the AI winning every point. Perhaps the aggressive AI is something can be tweaked in a patch, but if this is the first move by Skynet to begin overthrowing us humans then we may as well give up now!
Atomic Ninjas is a blast when you get a full room going and the variety of skills/weapons on offer will give you a lot of choice when deciding your playstyle. It’s just a shame that, so soon after release, it is difficult to find a four player game. This is a title that could benefit massively from getting on the Playstation Plus free game roster and boosting the player count, but as it is, the low player count means Atomic Ninjas isn’t the pick up and play title I imagine the developers were hoping to deliver.