While not an original game concept, and there's some repetition in gameplay and environments, this is a fun, fast, and fluid ninja game. Shadow Blade+'s ideal for when you've got a few minutes to kill (pun intended) as it's easy to pick up and fight or sneak your way through a few levels. It's great to find hidden areas worth exploring, and mastering the timing of jumps and parkour-like wall climbs to help you figure out a level's challenging design. The biggest issue with Shadow Blade+ is its touch controls on an iPhone and iPad. There are two touch options (swipes or virtual buttons) but neither one feels intuitive, and there's no option for controller support, which is a huge oversight. If you can use a controller on the Apple TV and Mac versions, why not give the gamer the option on iPhone and iPad?
The default swipe mechanic is confusing because you have to swipe or tap the side of the screen you want to go, instead of having a virtual analog stick. The learning curve means you'll no doubt fall to your death because you swiped the wrong way. Once you get past the learning curve, though, Shadow Blade+ is super fun. Not everything's unlocked at the start, but there are three big chapters in which to get through, as well as extra modes like Hardcore, Downtown (highly enjoyable outdoor levels), and Dojo. There are collectibles, hidden items, Game Center Achievements, and you're scored on your progress per level (adding to the replayability). The 2D-3D hybrid art style, smooth animation, and music are top-notch. But Shadow Blade+ would greatly benefit from controller support. Plus, since there is no multiplayer support or level editor, a little more meat here would have gone a long way. While not an instant classic, Apple Arcade gamers who enjoy platforming or action will no doubt enjoy find many hours of excitement in Shadow Blade+.