I think all young people today have vivid, poignant memories of their final ninja academy exams. Who could forget those bittersweet moments while scaling the infinite training caves, leaping over skeletons, inferno bats, and dart gargoyles; and realizing that this would be the last time you would ascend the consecrated caverns as a student? Or ever again, in some cases. Those ninja training caves could be brutal. Chubby Ninja lets you relive those nostalgic days when you ceased being a young student in a gray catsuit and truly became, for the first time, a ninja.
Skirt about the training cavern using the left and right [arrow] keys. Jump by tapping [up] or [A], and double-tap to double-jump. You can also use various ninja powers, including a speedy dash-attack with the [D] or [X] keys, and flight (!) with the [space] bar or [S] keys. These powers take up Spirit, which can be replenished with blue spirit-filled vials. You can also collect hearts to replenish life, ninja powder to be invisible, and various other power-ups to increase your score.
Your main task is to climb and climb and climb, making sure not to fall or get gobbled up by the forced upward scrolling. You also want to avoid getting beaten up by various training-cave-dwelling bad guys. Certain bad guys will appear only once per game, and their defeat constitutes a successful "challenge" (read: "achievement"). Other challenges include reaching a certain altitude, killing a certain number of bad guys, and collecting certain items. Victory seems to be a function of endurance and the completion of challenges, without any actual endpoint. The high score, not the finish line, is your goal.
Gameplay goes pretty quickly, and even though the platforming isn't too tricky, the forced scrolling keeps the pressure on, so you might find yourself dying before you expect it. But since the levels are randomly, infinitely generated, and since there are always challenges to complete, you will be glad to try playing again. The cute design also encourages replay: skeletons and other villains bop along in a not-so-villainous way, and the protagonist looks like a little baby ninja in a little gray onesie.
Chubby Ninja is great for little snack-sized bits of platforming without ever feeling stale or repetitive. Plus it may help you remember bygone days at the ninja dojo. Try not to get too misty-eyed with nostalgia, or you'll miss that double-jump.