I am a bit of a Naruto fan, and have been for years, so every time another game is released I absolutely have to play them. When I first saw the trailer for Naruto Powerful Shippuden on the 3DS, I got super excited; not only is this a heldheld game, but it also heavily features one of my favourite characters, Rock Lee, and the entire game is completely chibi. So I managed to pick up a copy a few weeks back in a local retailer and have been pumping hours into it ever since.
Starting from the very beginning of the Shippuden series and diverging slightly off path, the game is set up into missions based around battles, collection or time. It honestly feels reminiscent of the Uzumaki Chronicles on the PS2, which was one of my most loved games from that generation.
There are many things in this game that just keep me coming back for more, but one of the main reasons is definitely the RPG like stats and upgrades, such as weapons, chakra, health, and even team members. You can also remove points from these as well which can come in surprisingly handy during some missions where you can get a large bonus of points if you are leveled down.
All missions have their own rules for completion and defeat, as with most games of this nature, but I really love the fact that you can also select your own rules to gain bonus points on top of the points you receive for each level. These bonuses can range from x1.1 upwards to x3 depending on the difficulty of said rule.
The entire game revolves around playing as either Naruto or Lee; they each have different missions maps which can require unlock keys from both characters to progress further. It is very easy to swap between these maps and by doing this there are two characters to level up, more missions, and even more characters to interact with, and of course a completely different fighting style. None of the missions are overly long, which means that it is easy to pick up and play if you have time constraints or just looking for a quick gaming session.
The humor in this game is second to none and even if you are not already familiar with the characters there are plenty of back stories to keep you informed. The costumes, dialog and even the characters themselves have forced me to laugh out loud on numerous occasions (which can be a bit weird while on public transport) and the chibi animations just add to it all the more.
Probably one of the best things for me about this game is that it has made me actually find, and use, my 3DS for the first time in months. Naruto Powerful Shippuden is everything I want in a handheld game; quick missions, varying difficulties and lots of laughs. Any one from the ages of 6 and up could easily have fun with this light-hearted fighting game.
- Steff Webb