Game developer Dong Nguyen made waves in 2014 with Flappy Bird, an ultra-difficult mobile title that briefly engulfed the entire smartphone-using populous. Since then, Nguyen has released a couple of follow-ups using his now-infamous formula that blends twitchy, erratic controls with standard obstacle-avoiding. His newest game, which has the peculiar name of Ninja Spinki Challenges, blends six different games types into one maddeningly difficult collection, with a few twists that make it his most polished and accessible release yet.
The game, available today for iOS and Android, is centered on a ninja-in-training who must complete tasks to earn his or her bonafides as a sneaky warrior. The tasks range from avoiding bouncing cats and cannon fire to hitting targets with a shuriken. The challenges are timed-based, which gives you a nice sense of how long you have to survive in any given situation to move on.
Once you complete an introduction challenge, you’ll unlock the second of five harder versions of that challenge. You’ll also unlock an endless mode the first time you survive one of the six games, so you can engage in the more familiar play style of lasting as long as you can to score points.
Nguyen’s trademark design, which involves very precise touchscreen finger movements, remains intact. What’s different here is a new level of accessibility, which goes from approachable to insane. The introduction challenges are relatively easy to complete and the difficulty scales over the course of the five challenges for each of the six mini-games. So for those interested in the more masochistic elements of Nguyen’s game design, you just have to progress a little farther than usual to hit the truly hard parts.
The endless modes also ramp up nicely. For instance, the cat-bouncing mini-game involves only one kitten you must avoid until you reach a score of 10. After that, an additional kitten is thrown into the mix. There is an a ingenious advertising method at play in Ninja Spinki Challenges, in which players can restart failed challenges from where the timer left off so long as they endure a 15- or 30-second video ad.
This is a departure for Nguyen, whose original Flappy Bird went viral precisely because it remained equally challenging all throughout, without giving players the ability to ease into difficulty. That style of game, coupled with that kind of difficulty level, was unique on mobile at the time. (Nguyen’s signature style has since been copied to death.) If you’re interested in checking out Ninja Spinki Challenges, download it on iOS through the App Store or on Android through Google Play.