A surprising demo for the upcoming game Naruto Powerful Shippuden appeared on the Nintendo eShop on Valentine's Day and I thought what could be a better way to spend my night then trying out this demo. Powerful Shippuden is based on part of the Shippuden arc with Naruto while having the chibi art style from the spin off show Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals. You get to play as the big headed versions of Naruto or Rock Lee and this demo gives a few missions for you to try out both ninjas.
After booting up this demo, you will immediately notice that all of the games text is in English, but the dialogue is still in Japanese. There is no option to have the English voice actors dub be in the game and this seems like a big reason why we are getting this game released outside Japan at all. Companies like Namco Bandai and even Koei have noticed that they can save quite a bit of money by only localizing the text. This actually isn't an issue since the original voice actors are perfect at playing their characters here and even without knowing a bit of Japanese will still result in getting laughs while you play.
Powerful Shippuden plays like the mission based structure of the later Ninja Council games and this works well with have you do a lot of bite sized missions. Both Naruto and Lee have about nine missions to play in this demo. These range from basic training, to some of the wackier missions. Even though I have seen my fair share of the Naruto series, the amount of humor on display in this demo was a great surprise.
The game retains the spin off self aware jokes and will contently be breaking the fourth wall. This is a defiantly welcome change to these games as some fans of the Naruto series may be sick of reliving the same moments over and over again. The lighthearted approach to the story as well as quick to play mission structure showed that this game works well as a fun portable title to keep you busy wherever you go.
Once you get into the actual game, Powerful Shippuden becomes a fast paced beat-em-up that oozes style. The game retains the simple style of combat from the Ultimate Ninja Storm games, but it never feels old or formulaic. Mixing up light and heavy attacks with dash canceling as well as jutsus makes the game feel very fast paced without being overwhelming. Also the game offers many different ways to approach a challenges to make a mission more difficult to accomplish.
With the final project having over 100 different missions to complete, Powerful Shippuden will have quite a lot of gameplay to keep you busy. As long as the missions types stay varied and fun this will be a must buy for not just Naruto fans, but for hungry 3DS owners looking for a great title. The surprisingly funny translation also finds a new way to retell this classic story.
Naruto Powerful Shippuden will be releasing March 5th, 2013 on the Nintendo 3DS in North America and the demo is available to download now on the Nintendo eShop. If you have checked out the demo be sure to let us know what you think of it in the comments below.