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3DS  header logo

Shinobi 3DS

For: 3DS


Product: Shinobi 3DS | Publisher: Sega | Format: 3DS | Genre: Action | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Shinobi 3DS 3DS, thumbnail 1
I still have great memories of playing The Revenge of Shinobi on Sega Mega Drive.

It was a classic old skool bastard platformer that killed you every chance that it could. But still you forged onwards in a vain attempt to beat it.

Nowadays, we're not so willing to die over and over again for the sake of entertainment, and developers are adding in Easy modes, throwing in multiple checkpoints throughout levels, and generally covering us in bubblewrap.

How refreshing, then, that Shinobi should come back from a ten-year hiatus and continue on its masochistic voyage of discovery. It's great to see the ninja franchise back, although the extreme difficulty levels do make it a little frustrating to play, as you'd expect.

Return of the ninja master

The setup in Shinobi 3DS is very similar to the original games, with side-scrolling action that involves jumping, slicing, and shuriken-throwing.

Enemy ninjas appear in your path, and you need to dispose of them. However, it's not a simple case of running at them and tapping 'attack', as they throw shuriken back at you and cause you plenty of pain.

Mastering the controls is the key to beating Shinobi. Pressing R allows you to block attacks for a split-second, and if you block an attack and then hit the enemy you'll perform a massive attack and kill them instantly.

Attacks come in sequence, and it feels a little like a cross between an old skool platformer and a rhythm game, as you learn the attack formations and how to overcome each of them.

Make no mistake - Shinobi is hard as nails, and even on Normal difficulty you'll no doubt die part-way through the very first level. With patience and perseverance, you'll eventually make it through, and you'll be rightly proud of yourself for doing so.

Float like a ninja, sting like a bee

Once you get used to the attacks and blocks, it becomes apparent that the entire game is very much focused on growing your score and perfecting your skills.

Your overall score and overall time are displayed on the bottom screen, and you're urged to push for perfect scores by mastering all the skills available.

Outside the fighting, the platforming sections are also pretty varied, requiring you to jump from walls, hang from ceilings, and react quickly.

In case it all gets a bit too much, you have special powers that you can activate on the touchscreen to help you out, although you have an extremely limited supply of these.

It all adds up to a solid platformer that'll appease Shinobi fans while scaring off youngsters unaccustomed to its unforgiving nature.

Try, try, try again

We said Shinobi is difficult, and we really weren't kidding - to the point where it sometimes gets plain silly.

If you lose all your lives, you're taken all the way back to the start of the level, which could potentially be a good 20 minutes back. Believe us - it's no fun getting sent this far back, no matter how 'retro' it is.

There are also several difficulty settings to try out, but unless you choose Easy you're going to die many, many times over.

It also doesn't help that the game begins to feel very repetitive towards the end, with the same baddies killing you using the same weapons over and over. The sheer number of times you'll have to repeat sections exacerbates the problem.

Shinobi 3DS will either be your idea of heaven or your idea of hell, depending on how skilful you are and how much difficulty you can put up with for a slice of authentic retro gaming. Only a certain kind of gamer will really enjoy it, but if you're that kind of gamer then you can't afford to miss it.
Shinobi 3DS
Reviewer photo
Mike Rose | 22 November 2011
Only the hardcore need apply. Shinobi is tough as old boots, and if you have the patience to master its ways, you'll find a very satisfying platformer
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