The concept is simple enough: Build a grand ninja army and dominate the world. When the player starts, they are prompted to choose between three of the great ninja clans (shadow, lotus, and fire). Each clan has its own benefits, such as critical strike rating, but in the end it all seems to balance out, so it really seems to just come down to aesthetics. Regardless, the game immediately walks you through a short and sweet tutorial, and while the game is simple enough to where it could be figured out on its own, it was very nice to have — a lesson many developers could learn from.
After the tutorial, the player should be set with a single ninja, armed with a stick and a “relic” (relics are merely items that can be equipped to boost that ninja’s stats). From here, it is time to fight, fight, fight. By clicking on the little Japanese dirigible, players can challenge other ninja armies to battle in attempts to garner gold for purchasing new equipment, experience to level up, and karma to train your ninjas with. Furthermore, the fighting is not random. Unlike some games of a “fighting” nature, players can choose who to fight, regardless of level. Basically, that means if you are too weak to fight those of your newest level, you can earn some money, karma, and experience off of lower level players.
The fight itself is actually fairly amusing to watch as the two ninjas jump into a dust cloud fraught with damage values and swinging weapons. Unfortunately, this means it is entirely automated, and rather short; at least until you get more than one ninja. Moreover, there is a fairly obnoxious load time in between each fight as you have to exit the Flash module so you can select an opponent and then reenter.
In addition to equipment, it is almost mandatory to save up and purchase more ninjas (not to mention more fun to watch). Of course, each purchase makes the next one much more expensive, but it allows players to utilize more relics and more equipment. This creates a small amount of resource management as players try to intelligently distribute karma and gold amongst their minions. However, unlike many games that have multiple resources such as these, Ninja Warz has a feature called the “Daimyo” that allows players to exchange one currency for the other as well as claim a reward every few hours.
Of all the features, Ninja Warz has, perhaps the only one that came off as annoying (beyond the loads between fights) was the Ally requirement needed for various items — this feature is clearly intended to try to get you to invite your friends. While relics seem to be locked via your level, weapons not found in the in-game shop can occasionally be dropped after a battle. However, these are often limited by the number of allies (Facebook friends in the app) that you have. Friends must actually accept an invite for you to receive credit, making that shiny katana in your inventory all the more taunting.
Despite minor complaints, the game is pretty amusing to play. Currently, the game has around 500,000 users for this month, but we will have to wait a bit longer to gauge its lasting popularity. Regardless, it is a great start for this Facebook newcomer, and with two more apps also in development, the immediate future for Broken Bulb Studios looks fairly positive.