Silent Swords ZERO by Oniric Games was just released into the App Store. Fans of the little ninja clamored for more stealth action so a prequel to the runaway hit Silent Swords for the iPod Touch was born. The cutest, but deadliest stealth ninja of them all is back in an all new adventure. Solve 25 levels in the main quest, but this time they are located in different settings as the story unfolds explaining why our hero had to escape the prison.
There are three different new locations in this installment. Jump, slice and dice, and shuriken your way through the underground mines, snowy mountains, and the ruins of the temple, always taking special care to avoid detection by the guards and new characters unique to their locations in the game. One stumble under the light and as players of the first game know all too well, it is lights out for the little ninja. A new twist awaits you as civilians are present on many levels but according to the Ninja’s Code they can not be harmed.
The same gorgeous artwork from the first game enhances the experience and with added new weapons and hiding places, and of course new obstacles to navigate, there is so much to separate this title from its predecessor. Beautifully drawn comic book style panels unfold the story as each level is solved. Integrated in this first version are Open Feint achievements. How stealth can you be when you stack up against your friends? Can you become the Ninja Master?
Level Screen: While it is not a level select screen, you can check your progress through the game with the all new title screen that includes indicators for the levels you have completed. Unlike the first game where once a level was solved the player could not tell how far along in the story they had travelled, it is here to see in Silent Swords ZERO. Because I enjoyed the first title so much I never wanted it to end and of course when it did I was disappointed. With this progress screen, I can prepare myself for the ending.
Unlockable extra levels: Finish the quest? No need to fear, bonus levels are now waiting to be solved! In addition, replay each level and find and collect a secret symbol!
Gesture attacks: There is no greater feeling than sneaking up on an enemy and then being able to take them down with the on screen gesture commands. Follow the command for a solid take down. At the completion of the level your sword accuracy percentage will be determined. Can you follow all the commands properly and get 100% on each level?
Non-invisibility icon: It is quite convenient to have a little eye icon that lets you know when the enemies can see you. Though this seems like it would be obvious (under the light the enemies can see you, in the dark they can’t), the visual actually does help in planning your moves.
Set levels: It appears there is only one way to solve each level, just like in the first title. Though this lends itself to puzzle solving and planning ahead to complete the level with the tools that are available, it eliminates any creativity or false steps. If you turn the wrong way and use a weapon on the wrong enemy in the wrong order, the level will become unsolvable and a restart is necessary.
Replayability: With the new sword accuracy screen which not only shows your kill accuracy, but also keeps track of the number of attempts needed to complete each level and the time it took to finish each level, this screams for the ability to replay each level to better your score and time. Not having finished the game, perhaps this awaits me however. This could not please me more.
Minimal Tutorial: The first Silent Swords was highly criticized for its poor control scheme. While this title utilizes the much better update which consisted of an overhaul of that original set up, the jumping and bouncing off the walls can be a little frustrating. After an explanation regarding the finer points of jumping I was able to see what I was doing wrong. A better tutorial would have avoided my confusion. Perhaps a level could be added to the start to just practice with the controls – running, jumping, hanging on walls etc. That way all the control options could be tested by the player to see which is best for them.
Overall, this is a welcome prequel to an already successful title by Oniric Games. Silent Swords ZERO answers the pre-story in a very creative and enjoyable manner. The little ninja is back and as hardcore as ever. Though not invincible and immediately vulnerable when stuck under a light, he remains the stealthiest of them all, in new settings with new weapons and enemies. The addition of a real story laid out in comic book styling really adds to the experience. Fans of Silent Swords and the little ninja will be thrilled for more of the game and newcomers will experience a wonderful new world playing Silent Swords ZERO. This game is highly recommended and will give you tons of enjoyment.