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Super Secret Ninja is one of the smallest and most entertaining 'coffee break' games I've ever come across - not to mention unique. In a game that seems to have been inspired in equal parts by Thief and freeware gem Wire Hang Redux, your goal as ninja is to sneak as quickly as you can to the end of each level without attracting attention of patrolling guards. The official readme file elaborates on the scoring mechanism: "the faster you go, the better your end score (0-5 golden stars). Your score is dramatically reduced every time a guard sees or hears you. If you are detected by 10 guards, or you move too slowly, you will dive off a cliff out of shame and humiliation. Your total score will be all the individual level scores summed together. "
The gameplay is extremely simple: use the arrow keys to move and jump around, up and down to aim your ninja rope, and CTRL key to throw the rope to attach it to poles and other surfaces to navigate through platforms. You can also turn invisible, but it has limited uses. Like most good action games, there seems to be a perfectly positive correlation between ease of use and addictiveness: Super Secret Ninja is as addictive to play as its gameplay mechanics is simple. Graphics, while a bit too drab for my tastes, is more than adequate - the Japanese-style fortresses in particular are drawn nicely. All in all, this is one of those rare gems like Wire Hang Redux that you simply have to play to know how much fun it is... I always have trouble explaining the appeal of 'simple, but not simplistic' games :) The author deserves extra points for designing a non-violent game that is perfect for kids as well.
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Super Secret Ninja screenshot
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Freespace 2, Contra, Lunar Lander, CHAMP Galaxia, Earth Siege 2