Windhammer Prize 2015: Isaac Newton: Badass Ninja Crimefighter (Stuart Lloyd)

The 2015 Windhammer Prize is now running, which means you can download and play any of the 16 PDF gamebooks entered; if you play a reasonable number of them, you may also judge the competition by submitting a list of your top three favorites. (Full details are at the judging site.)

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The previous Windhammer contestant I covered, Tides of Chrome, is an intricate puzzlebox of a game, highly polished, with hints of serious themes. Isaac Newton: Badass Ninja Crimefighter is basically its opposite in every way: a simple plot, fast-paced narrative, and an extremely goofy tone. There are assorted typos and surprising noun/verb agreement errors that make me think maybe the game was drafted in the third person and then changed to second person partway through. There are loads of luck checks and a number of choice points where you have no real reason the first way to guess which of two or three choices is going to be your best bet. I had fun with it, but in a totally different way.

The premise is what it says on the tin, only more so. You are Isaac Newton. You are 53 years old, yet you possess a body like Schwarzenegger in his prime. You can restore willpower and hit points by eating apples. Your study of gravity and optics has endowed you with telekinesis, flight, and the ability to shoot blasts of rainbow power from your hands. You are highly opposed to counterfeiting, and you’re willing to kill any number of guards and flunkies in order to get at London’s most significant counterfeiter. You also have a butler named Alfred, and independently sentient hair. The ninja aspect doesn’t come into it very much.

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