After defeating Hidan and Kakuzo (the assassins of Akatsuki), Naruto Uzumake returns to Hidden Leaf Village to train and strengthen his abilities for the next battle. Sasuko Uchiha becomes more powerful learning under Orochimaru and he hopes to defeat Itachi Uchiha in battle.
As you begin the game, across the bottom screen are the options: Story, VS Battle, Personal Battles, Special Missions, Summoning, and Extras. In Story, you will play Naruto and fight a series of predetermined battles interspersed with dialog scenes based on the Naruto Shippuden story. There are 21 different chapters in the story and in each battle you win gets you further along into the story. In VS Battle, you can battle wirelessly with up to three other people.
In the personal battles section, you can fight as your choice of one of 16 characters, including Naruto and Sasuko, and you will fight a series of 10 random personal battles with the character of your choice. If you can win the final special battle, you’ll see a unique dialog scene for the character you chose. Mastering personal battles also earns you summoning marks that can be used to unlock new characters and stages. I love having the variety to fight as so many different characters because each one has a different style of fighting that keeps the game interesting.
In special missions you can chose one of three scrolls that will allow you to earn stamps if you win the battles. If you meet all the conditions of the mission, you earn that amount of stamps on a bingo sheet for the character you chose. By earning enough stamps to complete a row, you unlock a new ability for that character. The more stamps, the more difficult the mission will be. It’s great that this game keeps you engaged and motivated by offering missions for both the novice and more experienced player — they don’t try to save up all the good stuff until you’ve managed to gain a lot of experience.
The fighting in Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble takes place on the top screen. There are three difficulty settings in which the game can be played (easy, normal, and hard). The bottom screen contains the icons for secret and ultra techniques that you can use while fighting. The top screen also contains information on your character’s name, stamina gauge, chakra gauge, and player number. There are three stamina bars (red, yellow, and green) and they change color based on how much damage the character has taken.
As you fight, you do so both in the air and on the ground using the control pad and the a, b, x, and y buttons. During the battle, there are items you can touch by jumping onto them or running through them that will help you regain stamina or increase abilities. For instance, a bowl of ramen noodles will help you recover stamina, food pills help you recover chakra, a Katana (sword) increases your attack power temporarily, and a shield increases your defense temporarily. There are also traps you can run into like a poison jar that drains your stamina, a paper bomb that explodes sending you flying, and a light ball that reverses your controls.
The graphics are about what you’d expect from a manga type game. They in fact remind me of Pokemon cartoons. The characters move easily with the controls and putting the difficulty on easy allows you to get used to how the controls work. The familiarity of the graphics style should appeal to anyone who is a fan of Pokemon, Yu Gi Oh or other manga games.
Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble uses autosave throughout the game. If you choose New Game when you’ve already created saved data, it will be overwritten. You can advance through the dialog by pressing the A key. If you want to skip the dialog completely, you have that option as well which is great once you’ve played a level a few times and don’t want to read the same dialog over and over. You don’t use the stylus at all during the game. The play is done entirely by the control pad and the buttons on the game.
Both of my teens enjoyed playing this and say it is one of their favorite titles. It is definitely a great game for teens who are attracted to manga, and it’s fun to play and not so difficult that you can’t advance through the levels slowly. While there is animated violence, there’s not a lot of blood and gore like you see in some teen games. The action and dialog are interesting and fast paced enough to keep your attention. This one has my thumbs up.
Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Cartoon Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes.