Naruto: Ninja Council
Naruto seems to become the latest hype as we’re being overwhelmed by Naruto-games these days on different platforms. This one we’re talking about is the DS-variant.
There are two possibilities: either you play on your own a couple of missions, or you do a fight with/against friends in party mode. In total there are about 60 missions but they’re not all available from the beginning. At first only the easy ones are visible and as you climb higher in ranking more will appear. Higher rankings are earned by completing all missions that go along with your current one and this can lead to frustration as some are quite difficult while others are way too simple.
Most missions are short and can be finished in a couple of minutes. For many that’s also necessary as they’ve got a time limit which, however, doesn’t really help the total lifespan of the game. An advanced player won’t need more than a day to finish it completely. The goals you need to get are luckily quite varied and challenging and it’s hardly ever a matter of just fighting your way through, using your brains is equally necessary.
Next to the usual (combo) attacks you can also use so-called “secret techniques” which of course do more damage. However, it will take a second or so before your character does anything and in that time even the slightest hit against you can make the entire move go wrong and let you start over. The used chakra (only necessary for these secret techniques) is lost nonetheless. If you do succeed, then you still have to go through a couple of “rituals”.
First you need to form the right handsign which is done by tagging the correct Japanese symbols that are present in a circle surrounding the example signs. Sometimes this circle is swirling which makes it a little harder. Afterwards you get, depending on the chosen technique, to do another assignment with the styles (for instance rubbing from left to right or turning) or blow into the microphone. If you get this done within the time limit the technique will work and you get to see its action in a mini-movie. It isn’t always quite clear what it will do in advance since the names are quite Japanese (eventhough they’re written in our language). Anyway, the better you perform the rituals, the stronger your technique will be.
The controls aren’t always easy, especially when it comes to the touchscreen for the secret techniques. If you constantly have to switch to the stylus you’re hardly ever in time to use a special move. Also irritating is the fact that once on the ground, you can hardly get back on your feet as your enemy will keep standing too close. Touching hostiles without hitting them is almost a guarantee to fall onto the ground.
The choice was made for 2D instead of 3D and this makes that the anime-style is kept better and in the end you’ll be playing a sidescrolling platform game. Music and sound nicely add to the game but aren’t so obviously present.
Although there’s quite some variation and a certain amount of challenge present, this game is ridiculously short, has all but great controls, and that’s not all that’s irritating