Ninja Gardner and
Ah, the humble ninja. Stealthy, wise and deadly. Everything I am not. Which is why I choose to play games that have ninjas in them. Much easier than actually becoming one. And most of the time you can pause for a quick break when you need one. Try doing that in the middle of a real life assassination. Bet you can't.
Either way, the first of these two ninja-themed games is Ninja Gardener, a Flash game released by Merciless Games. In this candy coloured offering, you are a delightfully plump ninja who has sown a small crop of just 20 seeds. However, before they have a chance to sprout, pesky birds begin to notice and attempt to get them. Sure, you could build a scarecrow to get rid of the birds, but that's not the ninja way. So, instead, kill them by throwing poisoned tipped spades.
Initially the bird attacks are slow and quite easy to defend against. Though the ability to only throw one spade at a time quickly reveals itself as being one heck of a handicap as, fairly quickly, the birds start to come down with near relentless determination. Keep your wits about you and use the bonus pick-ups wisely to ensure a favourable return on your plantation.
In a return to classic ninja stylings, Ninja Rinseout is a flash game from OneMoreLevel which features the black clad silent killer, leaping gracefully from rooftop to rooftop, ducking behind whatever he can and waiting for the right moment to strike; taking down the opponent with one deadly blow.
To save—whom I assume is the Emperor's daughter—you must travel through ten silhouetted landscapes, sneaking up on and knifing the guards. If you are seen, the guards will be briefly alerted and, though you are a stealthy ninja, a speedy one you are not and death usually follows you in combat. Retreat and wait for the right opportunity is your best bet.
Try as I might, I can't think of many ninja games reviewed here apart from N and Ninjaman. And while Ninja Gardner and Ninja Rinseout do have their own strengths and weaknesses, they're the only two games I've seen come around lately with ninjas in them. Although ninjas are not quite as cool as pirates (I think we can all agree on that), the availability of good quality games featuring them seems to be quite sparse. So, for a ninja fix, if you need one, please enjoy Ninja Gardner and Ninja Rinseout.