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Cubic Ninja



Unique, challenging maze game makes you think in 3D.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The story is about as simple as can be -- the good ninja wants to rescue the princess -- but there's nothing overtly negative in its themes. There is a small bit of crude humor in one monster that can eat the cubic hero and then "poop out" tiny cubes afterward.

Positive role models

CC, the cubic ninja, is -- to the extent that we know anything about his character -- a noble hero.

Ease of play

The controls are very simple -- all movement is conducted through the tilting or turning of the 3DS itself. It all feels very natural. The game gets very challenging in later levels, but there's a nice long learning curve before things get too tough.

Violence & scariness

You will have to navigate your hero through mazes filled with obstacles, like spiked balls and fire jets. On later levels, you will also find roaming enemies and boss monsters (all of whom are depicted as polygons). If your ninja -- who is literally a cube with tiny limbs -- gets hurt, he merely breaks up into smaller cubes. Each time he bounces into a wall (which happens very often) you'll hear him grunt a bit.

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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Cubic Ninja is a maze navigation game with a ninja theme. While there are dangerous obstacles and enemies -- like electrified barriers, flame walls, and floating bad guys -- fighting isn't the object of game. And when violence does occur, it is very unrealistic, as the characters are all basic polygonal cubes (with arms and legs). Know that even though this is a 3DS game, it can be played in 2D as well -- and that it's actually more fun that way. Nintendo does not recommend 3D gameplay for children under seven.

Parents say

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What's it about?

The story of CUBIC NINJA feels kind of tacked on, but this is essentially a puzzle game and plot frankly isn't all that important. Basically, the game is about the kidnapping of a cubic princess and the heroic cubic ninja's journey to rescue her. You'll help the ninja navigate over 100 obstacle-filled mazes, moving him in three dimensions as you do. You can either move by tilting the 3DS device or using the control stick and buttons.

Is it any good?


Cubic Ninja is a game with two different control modes: tilt control (which uses the 3DS's built-in accelerometer) or control stick. It's either an OK game or a great game, depending on which mode you choose. Tilt control is the default mode, and it's easy to see why: it's way more fun. Rocking and angling your 3DS to make the square hero navigate the mazes is incredibly enjoyable -- and it feels totally unique when you realize you can move him in three dimensions: Turn the 3DS completely upside down, and CC will "fall" toward the screen, apparently landing on the glass. It's a blast, even if it's not in 3D (the 3D effect only works when you look directly at the screen, so the tilt mode is only in 2D).

You can play in real 3D by choosing stick control, but that makes the game feel a lot more ordinary and less fresh and different. It's better to play in 2D and get an experience that feels worthy of this next-generation device.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the violence in the game. Does any violence (even unrealistic violence) feel unnecessary in a puzzle game like this?

  • Does the abstract, polygonal look of the characters minimize the impact of the violence when you see a character broken apart, burned, or shocked?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo 3DS
Available online?Not available online
Release date:June 14, 2011
ESRB rating:E for Comic Mischief, Crude Humor

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byhi mom June 25, 2013

Puzzle- not action!

This being my first 3DS game, I decided to play mostly in 3D with the control pad. I say mostly because there are some levels in which you must play with the accelerometer, so I temporarily switched to the default setting for those levels. I would recommend, as would Nintendo, to let children 6 and under play only on the accelerometer mode because it is in 2D. And frankly, I found that both control schemes have the same level of fun, just in different ways. In terms of violence, there is no blood, and the characters simply shatter into cubes if they die. The only weapons in the game are shurikens that can only be used once, and to get them, you have to collect these scrolls throughout the game to get them. I never did use them because there really isn't anything you can use them on except the bosses, and even then, you still have to do specific non-fighting things to win. There is a setting in which you can create your own level and share it with friends, but it utilizes QR codes and not the Internet, making it very secure. Overall, it is a good puzzle game, and I would recommend it for long trips and such.
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