Originally released in 2020 for iOS following a successful Kickstarter campaign, gamers around the world rejoiced when the beloved mobile game Ninja Chowdown finally found its way to Android in late 2021.
Which I guess makes me double delay to the boat on this one, but now that I’ve got my fingers in this amazing runner, I’ll not let go. Like the donuts you want to hunt, Ninja Chowdown for Android is delightful, addictive and occasionally annoying.
I guarantee you that this game will be on our list of best Android games very soon.
You hit the ground right away as the main character Donatsu – a fierce, lovable ninja / donut skinny. As a dedicated employee (and student?) Of the local Doughjo, Donatsu is tasked by his master to reclaim the fabled Knownut after it has been stolen by jealous rival restaurant owners.
You are launched directly into the gameplay with a minimal tutorial that perfectly matches the minimal amount of technical knowledge needed to play the game. To successful though? It now requires skill and wisdom that only comes with time.
As with many endless runners, Donatsu mostly stays stationary on the left-center side of the screen while the world whizzes past him. Pressing the left screen gives you a jump and a double jump, and the right screen controls your kunai (extremely cool projectile ninja weapons).
A tap on the right screen will throw a kunai forward in a straight line, while a tap and drag will give you a brief moment slower time to aim anywhere on the screen. However, it is a short window of opportunity, and a misplaced kunai can often spell your doom.
The difficulty comes from the glove of enemies and obstacles you have to navigate to reach each boss of the world. Enemies come towards you from the front, from behind and even the sky at once. A single hit is enough to kill poor Donatsu, unless you’ve acquired a temporary shield to take the battle for you. You must also juggle these murderous evils with environmental obstacles that will also land a one-hit kill on you if you fail to avoid or destroy them.
After dying for the first time in a single round, you can choose to pay a small number of coins (currency in the game earned solely by playing or watching ads) to continue where you left off. After the second death, however, it’s back to the start you go.
In the midst of all this chaos you are also eat delicious pink donuts to keep Donatsu’s strength and mood up. Eating donuts (you just run into them) will slowly fill your donut-o-meter, and when full, Donatsu goes into a super-attack that allows you to ping pong around the screen and destroy everything you touch.
Combine all this with the fast and furious pace and absolutely bangin ‘ chiptune soundtrack and you have yourself a hell of a game.
There are even a few nice additions that the developers threw in just for fun, such as various outfits, projectiles and even small pets that you can buy with coins that you earn to complete levels and / or see ads if you play for free version.
None of these different outfits or weapons actually change the gameplay at all, but it’s undeniably fun to dress up as a ninja donut version of Paul Blart Mall Cop and chase your enemies on a Segway with your faithful pet turtle while you throws cups of hot coffee instead of kunai. It’s just fun to play it there, guys.
More importantly, there is also an Infinite runner mode to keep you going, even after you finish Story mode. Infinite mode introduces its own set of optional targets and guides you through game levels and bosses in a single hassle-free encounter … until you eventually die, of course.
There’s not much to complain about with Ninja Chowdown, but there are a few potential pitfalls to keep in mind. First, Ninja Chowdown is free to play with ads, which is great to try. However, if you’re like me and you die every five seconds, you’ll see a wicked deluge of commercials as they play every time you die. They are longalso.
It did not take me long to decide to pay for the $ 3.49 one-time purchase in the app to purchase the ad-free version of the game, and I’m so glad I did. It was a handful of dollars that had been well spent.
Ninja Chowdown is also quite short in the actual driving time. Each food-themed world has 6 levels, including its boss, with a total of 35 levels. A single level would take you less than a minute to complete if you had a perfect run, so much of the time you will spend will probably be from dying and trying again. This is not a major drawback in my book as I am still sinking abundant time into the experience, but it can turn some players off.
The last hurdle to keep in mind is simply the difficulty curve. Despite its candy-colored palette, kid-friendly puns and comic mood, Ninja Chowdown is pretty tough. It will definitely take most players some practice to really get a good steam going, but again, I do not count this as a strike against it. It makes achieving achievement and conquering each level feel like a real achievement.
If games like Altos Odyssey are your jam, you need to put Ninja Chowdown on your list. The game’s beautiful, fun graphics, A + soundtrack, excellent gameplay and fun writing are combined to create an overall star experience. I’m obsessed and still play almost daily, so I would highly recommend this amazing runner to any player out there for a challenge.