8bit Ninja (Free) by Dogbyte Games pits you against an endless onslaught of falling fruit. Slice and dice, or dodge and weave. Pick your poison.
Wacky arcade games thrive in the App Store. I’d say 8 Bit Ninja falls into that category as it is a free-to-play title all about dodging fruit that is falling from the sky. Sure, it is obvious that Dogbyte Games was heavily inspired by games like Falling Balls and Fruit Ninja, but this is in no way a standard clone.
First, controls are very simple and tight, with a left and right arrow on the left and side of the screen. I don’t have any complaints about the controls. Like I said, this is a free-to-play title, meaning there is a small advertisement on the menu screen and maybe a few other places. To remove the ads, all you need to do is buy one of the IAPs (e.g., coin packs, dragon egg packs, etc.)
What I have loved most about 8 Bit Ninja is the fact that it is extremely easy to pick up and play. The game starts up quickly and has hardly any load time at all. Quick load times are perfect for a game like this because the more rounds you can play, the more XP you gain, and the faster you can level up your ninja and upgrade your abilities.
Speaking of XP and upgrades, as you dodge fruit you gain XP which goes toward leveling up your ninja. As you level up, your ninja becomes quicker and is able to use its special ability more frequently. Special abilities vary for each of the four ninjas that are available for unlock, and they range from deadly shurikens to freeze blasts.
If you aren’t the dodging type, there are power-ups that you can use along with the special abilities to obliterate the fruit. Things like “rotating swords” will fall from the sky randomly and will activate as soon as you walk over them. These power-ups only last for a few seconds, so there is an element of strategy involved in using them. The same goes for the special abilities which have a cool-down period before they can be used again.
In terms of replay value, the upgrade system takes the game pretty far. In the shop you can upgrade the power-ups (the ones that drop from the sky) for a reasonable number of coins or dragon eggs. Also, there are a ton of unlockables like the three extra ninjas, two other arenas, as well as power-ups. Furthermore, Game Center achievements have been included alongside competitive leaderboards.