Breakout Ninja fights to be the best one-button runner


It's got some gorgeous graphics too!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Anyone who remembers the glory days of Shinobi or Ninja Gaiden may want to check out the recently-released Breakout Ninja.

A super-simple ninja game with one-tap control mechanics, it’s incredibly addictive, and could well turn out to be one 2017’s early breakout (no pun intended) hits.

Oh, and did we mention that it’s the work of just one man?

It’s a smashingly good time.
Photo: Tuomas Erikoinen

From Angry Birds to one man band

In 2005, twenty-year-old Tuomas Erikoinen moved to Helsinki, Finland for a job as junior game artist for a new games developer called Rovio. At the time, Rovio had just 11 employees, and with Silicon Valley literally thousands of miles away, it’s easy to imagine the studio could have wound up as a footnote in the backwaters of the tech world.

Then Apple introduced the iPhone and, a couple years after that, Rovio released a little game called Angry Birds. Erikoinen was charged with doing the art for its characters and environments.

When the title was released, it became a wild hit, quickly hitting the no. 1 spot in the App Store and staying there for months afterward. Money poured in: transforming the company from a tiny studio into a major player.

“The growth of Rovio was so rapid that I think many of us didn’t even really understand how fast it was growing,” Erikoinen tells Cult of Mac. “A common joke with the ‘old Rovio guys’ was that on many days you came to work and had at least 3 new employees that you didn’t recognize.”

Tuomas Erikoinen
Thumbs up are well deserved!
Photo: Tuomas Erikoinen

Reeling from the experience, he decided to get back to the basics that had attracted him to games in the first place. Jump forward a few years, and in August 2015 Erikoinen decided to make the leap from artist to coder: teaching himself how to program.

“I’m a big fan of most Ketchapp games,” he says. “I was playing their Summer Sports game, and I really liked how they did the one-tap mechanics. It’s quite similar to Breakout Ninja, but instead of circles they have lines on the ground that tell you when to tap. I wanted to do a game with a similar mechanics and knew that it was going to need to be some sort of fast-movement game. So I started prototyping.”

The resulting mechanics make for a fun game. At its core, Breakout Ninja is an auto-runner, with a ninja protagonist moving from left to right across the screen. As he does so, the player must tap circles which prompt certain actions, such as kicking an enemy, leaping a fence, or smashing through a guard tower.

Already it’s picking up fans, despite only being released this year. It’s garnered plenty of positive feedback, around 500,000 downloads, and an average rating of 4.5 in the App Store. Best of all? It’s totally free, with no attempt at pushing in-app purchases.

You can download Breakout Ninja for iPad or iPhone here, compatible with any device running iOS 8.0 or above.

You won’t regret it!