(DSiWare)

Cake Ninja XMAS (DSiWare)

Game Review

Cake Ninja XMAS Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Damien McFerran

Christmas is cancelled

Long time readers of Nintendo Life will be acutely aware of the fact that we’re not the biggest fans of Cypronia’s Cake Ninja series. The two titles released so far have both received scathing critiques from our staff, which is why we approached this festive edition with a fair degree of trepidation.

As the title plainly suggests, this is essentially Cake Ninja with baubles on. It’s also misleading, as there are no cakes to slice in this particular instalment - instead, you’re slashing at snowballs hurled by an army of cheeky yet unrelenting gingerbread men.

Things start off on a somewhat sedate footing, with just a single gingerbread assassin to contend with. Successfully slicing the inbound projectiles fills up a meter at the bottom of the screen. Once this is full you’ll get the opportunity to return fire with your own snowballs, and taking out all of the gingerbread men moves you onto the next wave. The more biscuit-based baddies you have to face, the trickier it is to avoid taking damage; you begin with three lives, and being hit by a snowball removes one life. Thankfully, you get a life back when you complete a wave.

The ultimate aim of Cake Ninja XMAS is to earn as high a score as possible. Slashing the snowballs as soon as they are released bags you a larger bonus, but you need to be wary of randomly hacking away at the screen - every now and then, those nefarious gingerbread men will throw a Santa in your direction, and slicing him not only costs you a life, but also causes the rotund gift-giver to shed his clothes and flash you a faceful of pink belly.

And that’s about it. Cake Ninja XMAS doesn't include the different modes seen in Cake Ninja 2, and instead relies solely on the allure of the score-attack to maintain your interest. The leaderboard included with the game features scores from other players - we assume they’re members of the design team - but doesn’t have any online connectivity, which means once you’ve beaten them (which isn’t hard) then you’re essentially competing with yourself, or any unfortunate soul nearby who you can rope into taking part. You can post your score on the official site if you so wish, but it would have made more sense to have real-time score tracking built into the game itself.

Lack of longevity isn’t Cake Ninja XMAS’ only shortcoming, however. The presentation is depressingly low-rent, with poor 3D visuals and a terrible rendition of Jingle Bells which loops endlessly in the background. The snow-based carnage is punctuated by the irritating voices of the gingerbread men and some laughably faux-Japanese speech from the Cake Ninja himself. From a purely visual and audio perspective, it feels like the kind of thing a programmer would cook up in the space of an evening just to entertain other people in the office, rather than a serious commercial venture intended to make money.

Although the actual slicing of snowballs is quite enjoyable on a very superficial level, the process of firing your own snowballs is hopelessly broken. During this segment, three balls appear at the bottom of the screen. Your objective is to hit the gingerbread men by flicking the balls upwards with the stylus. This is relatively straightforward if you’re throwing the snowball at the gingerbread man directly in front of you, but hitting ones off to the left and right of the screen is more a case of trial and error than anything else.

At first we assumed we simply hadn't mastered the technique, but repeated attempts confirmed our worst fears - the aiming system is totally messed up. Swiping to the left inexplicably curves your shot to the right, and vice versa. The most frustrating thing is that even when you’re successful with your throw, the game’s collision detection system often decides otherwise and the snowball passes harmlessly through your intended target. The error is made even more infuriating by the fact that the ball is tracked on the upper screen of your DSi/3DS console, showing beyond all doubt that it was a direct hit - yet the game thinks otherwise.

Conclusion

For just 200 points, Cake Ninja XMAS isn't going to break the bank - and we’d be willing to wager that it will be downloaded a great many times based on this low price point and the inclusion of a festive theme. For such a modest fee, there’s a modicum of enjoyment to be had here - by stripping away the game options the developer has focused your attention squarely on the score-attack element of the package, which isn’t a bad thing when you consider how bad Cake Ninja 2 was. However, as we’ve seen in previous releases, the execution is fatally flawed, the presentation amateurish and the longevity highly questionable. Cake Ninja XMAS is refreshingly unpretentious - it’s almost as if the developers are aware of how bad it is - but that’s about the only positive thing you can say about it.

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User Comments (47)

rayword45

#3

rayword45 said:

Meh, I wouldn't give it a 2. A 4 is a bit more accurate.

Sure it's mind-numbingly repetitive, but it's not broken, and some may find it addictive. I had no problem with aiming after a short time. The visuals are crappy and the music repetitive as all hell, but I've seen and heard worse.

What's killing me is that giant boss at the end of level 35.

rayword45

#6

rayword45 said:

It may just be the screen size of the 3DS, but your photos actually look a ton better then the actual game. They aren't nearly as blocky or jaggedy and I can see actual detail.

Reala

#8

Reala said:

pay employees :/ Bah Humbug!!!

should probably point out I don't really work for the company just in case someone takes me for cereal

Morpheel

#9

Morpheel said:

Yeah, I actually enjoyed playing this so it's not a total wreck in my book.
With some practice I got the hang of throwing snowballs at the cookie guys (the secret is making a L or J shaped throw to hit them), but yeah, it can still be hard to hit them at times.

grumblegrumble

#10

grumblegrumble said:

I disagree. Bah humbug!! lol. I would give it a 5/10, it's actually quite fun when u get past level 7. The music makes it kind of hypnotic. Plus, they have a Wii U contest when u buy this game and not very many ppl have entered thus far. That means a better chance of winning one of three Wii U's! I would also give Cake Ninja 2 a 5/10. I just happen to enjoy playing it.

Morpheel

#11

Morpheel said:

Yeah, there's also that Wii U contest thing. That made it easier to get into the game lol.

Jstar269

#14

Jstar269 said:

So you are saying this is the best Cake Ninja ever? Because the other 2 had a 1. But still, whats with the ad, and I feel sorry for you playing this game.

Reala

#16

Reala said:

lets not let facts get in the way of the story, the ad doubled the score nl is rife with corruption and greed, read all about it in the Realatimes the best web tabloid bar none!!!

Void

#17

Void said:

This is the third game in the same series in one year, ha, and people say Call of Duty has too many releases so close to each other.
And you tell'em @Reala! :O

SheldonRandoms

#25

SheldonRandoms said:

This is from a developer at Cypronia...........No not really :0

But really, people are only going to get this for the Wii U contest, and that's it, I also just realized this game was sent in by them to be reviewed.............If somebody at Cypronia reads this, please take this review as a good thing, so that way you can improve on yourselves for future cake ninja games (if there are anymore).

TeeJay

#26

TeeJay said:

@SheldonRandoms People have already told them that in the last reviews and they continue to shovel the same game without improving what obviously needs to be improved. I doubt they'll listen.

Obywan

#28

Obywan said:

Shovelware... This dev just keeps churning out the same game, and I saw they got banned from here while doing some damage control xD

Gridatttack

#30

Gridatttack said:

Instead of coal, bad kids got a 3DS with this game preinstalled, in which wont let you play/donwload any other game on the system.

Lunapplebloom

#33

Lunapplebloom said:

Oh boy... I could tell this had shovelware written all over it. Thanks for the review, Damion.

Good luck to those that entered the contest. :)

9th_Sage

#35

9th_Sage said:

Well, at least it doesn't have a story where you're slicing up cakes so your wife doesn't get fat...that counts for at least one more point I think.

Tinky

#39

Tinky said:

Well at least they have now a rating of 6, that is if you add the ratings from all three cake ninja games together. :p
Also I find the name of the developer/publisher kind of hilarious, sounds like some fictional rogue state from a bad movie.
:D

IAmSpike

#41

IAmSpike said:

Played it, not that great. Kinda fun, but as you said, the snowball throwing mechanics are hopelessly broken.

Marioman64

#44

Marioman64 said:

i find it hilarious that your site is at the moment covered in an ad for this game, and also the front page popped up with a 2-star review for it. such conflicting advertising to be sure

theblackdragonAdmin

#45

theblackdragon said:

@Marioman64: Our ads have nothing to do with our review content. This kind of thing (a game being advertised on-site when it received a poor review from us) has happened before, and i'm sure it'll happen again whenever sheer coincidence strikes. :3

rayword45

#46

rayword45 said:

@Reviewer How far did you get in this game?

Because I take back what I said. This game should be a 1 for being a glitched-out piece of crap.

Level 1-34 is all the same.
If you got to level 35, that boss is passable with practice.
Level 36-43 unfairly fast but whatever.
Level 44 and past IT'S BROKEN AS F***. The glitches hurt your eyes and your score. Black boxes (passable before) are everywhere, half the snowballs disappear out of nowhere, you lose lives completely unfairly (because they get launched while in aiming mode).

If you'd like, I can record a video of this mess.

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