Ninja Run!

Run Ninja, Run!

Choose your favourite Teen Titan Ninja and test your Ninjutsu skills in this fast-paced endless runner. Grab power-ups to help you gain an edge, collect coins to spend on Ninja Perks in the shop, and see how far you can Ninja Run!

Brief

Cartoon Network approached us to build an endless runner for the ever-popular ‘Teen Titans: Go!’ brand. They wanted us to create something to meet the demands of the discerning 6-12 year old audience, who were familiar with this game genre, but set in the frenetic, colourful universe of their favourite teen superhero team. 

Our Response

We suggested using the very latest 3D HTML-5 technology, blended with hand-crafted 2D animation, to create a visually sophisticated experience. Integrating fast-paced, action-packed gameplay and loosely based around a classic episode, we aimed to create a web-game to rival the mobile-app titans of the genre. 

The Challenges

Blending both 2D and 3D assets for a brand that has a very distinctive 2D style presented a potential issue. How do we merge these approaches and keep the visuals perfectly on-brand?

Using a specific episode meant starting out with a strong visual direction. But would this lend itself to a visually interesting game over multiple plays, or would our Ninjas run out of steam with the players?

The game needed in-level power-ups, plus an integrated shop. How do we ensure all of these elements are balanced for a fair game across repeated plays? Especially since our algorithmic level-generation meant no run was exactly the same as the last.

The Results

Ninja Run delivers an exciting endless-runner gameplay experience filled with jumping, ducking, power-ups, robot drones and a shop full of Ninjutsu-enhancing perks. The level morphs and changes across three environments, never interrupting the pace of gameplay. It achieves this by leaning into the dreamlike surrealism of the show, keeping things fresh for players as the pace picks up and their skills are teste

The shop system adds an extra layer on top of a simple-but-fun core mechanic, encouraging repeat plays and providing players with an advantage on subsequent runs.

Adding as much visual variety as possible across distinct zones, using a large set of models and props, we ensure that key obstacles remain visually coherent. The player might be in a new zone dodging new obstacles, but spikes always mean JUMP!

Each run is programatically generated, but never completely random. Each run will always contain a fixed number of Super Jumps, Coin Magnets and Shields! The killer robot who likes to shoot tiles away from the player will always wait for them to pass a certain distance! This way, the balance between randomness and difficulty progression is maintained.

Any good Ninja knows each situation requires skilful use of their wits. To this end, players can save up currency to spend on the shop’s most expensive items, or spend after each run to give them a small but critical edge. Perks’ cost and duration have been balanced against the in-game power ups, ramp-up speed and obstacle placement to provide a rounded experience that rewards skill and determination, rather than lucky level layout.

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