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Ninjatown - EXCLUSIVE hands-on

Games based on movies, cartoons and comic books have existed for ages, but publishers have only recently begun seeing the potential of internet phenomena. Penny Arcade and Strong Bad got their own games and now, with the upcoming Ninjatown on DS, another popular online property is getting the star treatment. We recently got some hands-on time with the adaptation. If you've got questions, we've got answers.

What and/or where is Ninjatown?

For now, this mysterious locale is strictly digital. Ninjatown started out as a spin-off from Shawnimals.com, a website run by one-time gaming journalist Shawn Smith. Follow the link and you can buy personally designed plush toys and related wares; they're pretty unique and include a mustache with eyes, a radish with legs and an assortment of adorable, pocket-sized ninjas. There are so many ninjas, in fact, that they apparently needed their own town.

Ninjatown is your average community with homes, businesses and office buildings... with two big differences. The first is that every citizen just happens to be a ninja. The video store manager may rent movies, for example, but he does so with the stealthy ability of a ninja. The second difference is that Ninjatown is nestled in a very remote region, snug between a brewing volcano and a spooky forest.

Spooky forest, you say? Do dangers abound?

Funny you should ask, but yes! An army of Wee Devils, bright orange demonic blob-like creatures, have come pouring out of the woods and want to rend the town asunder. As the village's aging chieftain, Ol' Master Ninja, you must whip the ninja population into shape and lead the defense from your floating balloon in the sky. Balloon in the sky?! That's right - Ninjatown is a bona fide real-time strategy game.

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