Naruto Powerful Shippuden – 3DS
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games America
Developer: Inti
Release Date: Mar 5, 2013
Genre: Action, Platformer
Reviewed by Oscar Perez

Review Score: 4 of 5

Naruto: Powerful Shippuden is the newest 3DS brawler to bear the Naruto name and one that does not disappoint. We’ve seen Naruto games range from RPG to Adventure but with a show that’s based around ninjas, or rather Shinobi, it always tends to do best when it’s just a good ole button masher. While the game does state the Naruto franchise name it’s actually based on Rock Lee’s new show that started last year.

Lee’s show isn’t quite as serious as Naruto and it portrays that by going to a SD (Super Deformed) style of animation with over the top expressions and having a lot more of the wild antics we expect from Lee and Guy Sensei. The new style looks good while playing on the 3DS and it is a nice change from the serious and dark nature of the last Naruto games, I myself am loving seeing some of the more popular characters being taken out of their comfort zones and being made to act in a manner I wouldn’t expect

The main characters in Power Shippuden are of course Rock Lee and Naruto himself but the game has a split campaign with Naruto following the Shippuden story in a roundabout way and Lee having his own completely original story to follow though no matter which you choose I guarantee neither will disappoint you. Levels range from simple enemy wave fights to some timed racing levels where I will admit I was stuck on for some time due to the lack of clear instructions on some level intros, one example being a level where you have to fight waves of enemies while also getting to the end checkpoint in the time allotted and your goal is to beat it in two minutes thirty second yet are only given 60 seconds to complete it, only after collecting the batteries for the eleventh time did I notice I had to break some rocks with numbers to extend it.

While fans of the show know that our bushy browed hero (Lee) only has physical attacks at his disposal and Naruto has a wide variety of Jutsu at his disposal the core game play is much the same with basic brawling being the most efficient, if not repetitive,way to continue on each characters path. Like previous games, there are support mechanics to alleviate some of that repetitiveness with you being able to summon fan favorites such as Mighty Guy, Sakura and Kakashi to take out some bad guys, heal you or in some cases just use them to change the scenery a bit while fighting in your third forest setting and take out some annoying birds that poop on you, that is not made up by the way, there is an enemy that poops on you and your character gets paralyzed from it. One other cool feature is the ability to change forms such as Lee using his Gate’s technique and upping his damage and speed and Naruto going into either Nine Tailed Fox mode or my absolute favorite Sage Mode, I use that on cool down every time, just because of how cool Naruto looks with his outfit.

One of the best features in Power Shippuden is actually the RPG aspect where as you gain experience you can choose what style you want to level up such as basic stats, ninjutsu, chakra and even shuriken techniques and all of it is interchangeable so you are never stuck on one specialization with the ability to refund your points spent and distribute them elsewhere to spice things up a bit. While you gain experience for completing levels you can further multiply how much you get by choosing from set goals to try and achieve such as beating it without taking any damage, only physical attacks or in a certain time limit.

As tedious as the game got after repeatedly annihilating my thousandth generic bad guy and poison pooping bird the goofy cutscenes and wacky humor is really what kept me coming back and replaying levels while trying to further challenge myself with the multipliers available for beating it in specific fashions. I hope Bandai continues to use Lee and start to break off from the Naruto brand so he can finally make a name for himself and really start to mix things up a bit.