We’ve seen previous attempts at golf with Everybody’s Golf VR, while frisbee’s taken the zero-gravity centre stage with Echo VR. However, Disc Ninja marks the first time we’ve seen both sports combined into one. Read on for our Disc Ninja full review!
Developed by Immersion Games, Disc Ninja first appeared last year through Steam early access to little fanfare and after several updates, they’ve brought it to Oculus Quest. Structuring frisbee around golf’s stroke play, you won’t need pinpoint accuracy to finish these courses, nor are there comically oversized golf holes. Rounds are finished by hitting a Gold Dragon at the course’s end, ranking your number of throws. Disc Ninja is a surprisingly intuitive experience, one that takes time to master the maps, though several flaws hold it back from greatness.
Offering 15 maps, player performance is assessed on a three (ninja) star ranking system, earning more for reaching the Gold Dragon with fewer throws. Should you fail to earn any stars, you won’t unlock the next map, making this crucial to progression, but reaching the end is rarely simple. Many maps feature environmental obstacles like bottomless pits, rotating windmills, and broken bridges to obstruct your goal. Misjudge your aim and land out of bounds and that’s counted as a throw. Land on a lower part of the map and you’ll lose progress.
As for the disc, you can free throw and curve your disc left and right for precision shots, but players can lock-in the swing direction by pressing A. As for height and distance though, that comes down to your swing’s strength and, mostly, the game replicates frisbee physics nicely. Despite the (occasionally) annoying level design frustrating my performance, there’s a simple premise that often proved entertaining, one which suits VR’s immersive nature well.
That’s all packed within a vibrant visual presentation, too. Sadly, there isn’t much of a soundtrack to write about here, but Disc Ninja offers unique environments based around Feudal Japanese imagery, ranging between high mountains to meditation pathways. Each map also hides several hidden treasures, obtained by throwing your discs at sparkling pots. Those contain fragments for cosmetic sets, unlocking new disc designs and various ninja costumes.
Certainly, it’s nice to have customization options but considering the first-person perspective, that’s only noticeable to others during multiplayer, when other players are visible on the field. Letting you compete with friends or strangers through online matchmaking, Disc Ninja supports 4 players at once, where you’ll vote on a set of courses to play, containing 2-4 levels of varying difficulty. Retaining the stroke play format, playing against others adds a much-needed competitive element.
Unfortunately, multiplayer is arguably Disc Ninja’s biggest draw and solo players may find this experience a little bare. Outside of a tutorial and training area, all we’ve otherwise got is a course mode which utilizes a group of selected maps, letting you compete against others across leaderboards. That may sound appealing to high score chasers, sure, and it encourages riskier plays to reduce your overall throws, but this isn’t like your old SHMUPs that build scores via combos. We can only take so many throws off our game per map, meaning this competitive aspect doesn’t add that much in practice.
Disc Ninja Review – Final Impressions
There’s a great concept within Disc Ninja but ultimately, Immersion’s frisbee/golf concept doesn’t completely nail the landing. Offering enjoyable gameplay, a vibrant presentation and entertaining multiplayer, the game’s held back by the odd frustrating level, barebones content and a surprising lack of comfort settings. If you’re playing alone, Disc Ninja won’t last too long, but find some friends to join in and you’ll have a good time.
For more on how we arrived at this rating, read our review guidelines. What did you make of our Disc Ninja review? Let us know in the comments below!