Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble Review

Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble Review

When most people think of Naruto-centered video games, they usually split them into two categories. One side includes console titles, titles such as Ultimate Ninja Storm, which tend to be exceptionally polished. On the other side, there's the handheld titles, which are hardly exceptional in any way, but are usually enjoyable enough for the hardcore Naruto fans. Sadly, there hasn't really been a handheld Naruto title, especially on the Nintendo DS, which pushes beyond the fan comfort zone the titles have seemed to be stuck in. Does Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble change this perception, or is it another game to add to the ever-growing list?

Unlike last year's Naruto Shippuden: Naruto vs. Sasuke, which was an impressive, but still run-of-the-mill platforming title, Shinobi Rumble is a brawler that takes after games such as Jump Superstars (Japan-only) and the Nintendo DS Bleach fighting games. There's quite a variety of modes available, including a story mode, Versus mode, an arcade-style progression mode and a mission mode, all for the most part staples of the fighting game genre.

Being a game in the fighting genre, there are tons of different attacks and combinations to be had. Each character has their own light and strong attacks, which can be combined to make up different combinations. Each stage is quite large, so players are required to figure out when and which attacks they should use at any given time - will you deal a string of light attacks to keep up a combo and run the risk of your opponent breaking free, or will you finish them off with a strong attack that sends them flying back to the other side of the stage?

Each character also has a choice of three unique special attacks, each of which can be executed in a more powerful "Ultra" state as their Chakra gauge builds up during the match by pressing the respective icon on the touch screen, complete with a facial cut-in that quickly pauses the action while on-screen. Attacks can also be done in mid-air, which becomes a useful way to extend combos by utilizing an upwards strong attack after a string of light combos to continue the beat down. A special "Chak-rush" ability is also available, which removes staggering from enemy attacks and allows for continual Ultra attacks as long as the effect lasts.

One slight annoyance is that the game's combo system isn't very accepting of those who like to start up long combos, as the strong and special attacks tend to slam the character down into the ground automatically for the most part. You could say this was implemented to make things easier to digest for newcomers to the fighting game genre, but it is something of a disappointment for veterans. However, the game does control very tightly and the controls, on the whole, are exceptionally responsive, which is a welcome surprise for those used to most licensed titles on the Nintendo DS.


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