Introducing: 1-bit Ninja
1-bit Ninja is one of those ideas that has been at the back of my mind for a while. Some of my favorite early gaming memories are of Game + Watch and Gameboy and I wanted to create a game that tipped its hat stylistically to this important aspect of my gaming past. This naturally merged with another desire of mine which was to design a traditional side scrolling platform game specifically for touch screen, with controls that didn't suck. Through scientific research (read: playing lots of Super Mario Bros, Canabalt and games with touch screen virtual controls), I concluded a few things. Firstly, touch screen controls do not intrinsically suck. Tapping/pressing a touch screen is no less responsive than physical buttons, however changing button presses without consciously looking at them is inaccurate and frustrating. Secondly, platform games can be distilled to just 3 buttons; back, forward and jump. Of those 3 buttons, 1 of them, the back button could be considered of lesser importance when the player's goal is always to the right. By giving the player just 2 buttons the need for inaccurate on-screen controls disappears, your left thumb is button A and your right thumb is button B. With this control scheme in mind levels can be designed that not only work within the restrictions but take advantage of them. Level elements such as springs and moving platforms can be used to redirect the player creating alternative routes and subtle puzzles all in the while keeping the essential parts of the genre - exploration and precise jumping. With the control concept in place, I started to build and as I had been working on an iOS Minecraft engine I decided to merge elements of that. 1-bit Ninja's levels appear 2D however at any time the player can drag the top of the screen revealing the world as 3D. The 3D element provides 2 advantages to gameplay; enabling the player to see further into the distance allowing them to decide their next move and revealing hidden paths that can't be seen in the 2D view. I also think it also looks rather cool. 1-bit Ninja is almost complete and will be launching towards the end of May 2011, tell all your friends! * stylized engine: 1-bit animated sprites and tiles, blended with color, shading, 3D. Nostalgia with extra spice! * designed around 2 buttons for precise, invisible control * lots of hand crafted levels all with multiple paths, secrets and collectables * high scores and best times * recorded replays, so you can show off how you achieved the above * play at a casual pace or try 'traditional' mode, everyone's invited!

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  1. stelabouras

    Awesome! I especially like the ‘switch to 3D’ control you can do anytime while playing, kinda reminds me of some Fez gameplay videos ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fez_(video_game) ).

    On a related note: Great job on the iOS Minecraft engine too! :)

    May 04, 2011 @ 5:55 pm


  2. George Profenza

    Let’s not forget to add Echochrome/Fez to the scientific research list :P

    The desaturated palette and 8-bit sound work very well :)

    May 04, 2011 @ 5:58 pm


  3. Ben

    @stelabouras thanks and thanks! Feels like I’ve been waiting for Fez forever at this point, duke nukem pun unintended. :)

    May 04, 2011 @ 6:23 pm


  4. Ben

    @George Profenza: or Paper Mario :D

    May 04, 2011 @ 6:23 pm


  5. The Count Of Tuscany

    this is AWESOME! but please tell me something more about the release date :O

    May 07, 2011 @ 7:16 am


  6. Awesome Looking 1-Bit Ninja Messes With Perspective - 57Digital UK iPhone Deveopers, UK iPad Developers, Mobile Developers

    [...] 1-Bit Ninja may look like a simple retro throwback, and it is. But it’s also much more than that. It’s not just your average, run-of-the-mill Mario homage. It also has some really neat ideas. The announcement video shows off the ability to swipe the screen to turn the camera and make the 2D level into a 3D level. [...]

    May 07, 2011 @ 7:55 am


  7. Ben

    @The Count Of Tuscany: soon! End of this month.

    May 07, 2011 @ 11:42 am


  8. Awesome Looking 1-Bit Ninja Messes With Perspective | Product Sourcing - Industrial News

    [...] 1-Bit Ninja may look like a simple retro throwback, and it is. But it’s also much more than that. It’s not just your average, run-of-the-mill Mario homage. It also has some really neat ideas. The announcement video shows off the ability to swipe the screen to turn the camera and make the 2D level into a 3D level. [...]

    May 09, 2011 @ 3:38 am


  9. Vincent

    Looks more like 4-bit to me, but I can’t wait for it to release.

    Jun 02, 2011 @ 1:45 pm


  10. DnP

    When will it be ready? :)

    Jun 04, 2011 @ 3:31 pm


  11. HoochMan

    Hi,

    Been following the news about 1-Bit Ninja for a while now, any news on when you will release this in the appstore?

    Best,
    HM

    Jun 08, 2011 @ 5:41 am


  12. freiteez

    Cant wait to review this for our site :) looks fun

    Jun 20, 2011 @ 8:59 pm


  13. HoochMan

    Any updates on this awesome looking game?

    Jun 21, 2011 @ 8:23 am


  14. 1-bit Ninjas | Everyday Odyssey

    [...] game in 2011 would look better than a 64-bit game in 1995? I’m looking at you Atari Jaguar. 1-bit Ninja was just released for IOS and it looks pretty hot. It’s like Super Mario Land supped up for the new [...]

    Jun 23, 2011 @ 7:40 pm


  15. Bryan

    Hi,

    As you may know, many fans are disappointed with the lack of the back button.

    So, one of my suggestions is to feature a in-app purchase to have a back button.

    Because of this, lower the cost to 0.99.

    This should give you more profit as:

    1) More people buy the game (lower cost)
    2) Same revenue (the back button)
    3) Better reviews.

    Please consider my suggestions. Thanks!

    Bryan

    Jun 27, 2011 @ 5:24 pm


  16. Bry C

    Hi,
    Have you considered my suggestions?
    Bry C

    Jun 28, 2011 @ 5:33 pm


  17. Mick4U

    Nice game, thanks for having made it for us, I’m waiting for your next shot!! I wish you a lot of success. I post on twitter your game

    Jul 02, 2011 @ 2:49 pm


  18. AltiApp » Blog Archive » 1-Bit Ninja Review

    [...] visually, 1-Bit Ninja sings with nostalgic joy. Its creator, Ben Hopkins, writes that some of his ‘favorite early gaming memories are Game + Watch and Gameboy’, and these games’ influence on the app is obvious. Every level shines with a simple, crisp retro [...]

    Jul 05, 2011 @ 8:23 am


  19. Jeux vidéos, | V V V V V

    [...] Aujourd’hui sur le blog graphism.fr je suis tombé sur une idée de jeu originale développant le concept de la 1D nommé 1bit Ninja. [...]

    Jul 07, 2011 @ 5:38 am

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