|Dev: Griptonite Games|
|Release: November 15, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Blood, Violence|
For an even bigger test, you must make use of either the Play Coins or StreetPass feature of the 3DS. Passing other Shinobi vets in the streets or forking over your daily constitutional gained currency will unlock up to thirteen challenge maps that epitomize the word "frustration." While Jiro is blessed with several hit points during his campaign, a single hit will do him in on these challenge maps, and the slightest error will send you crying back to the start
There is also an in-game achievement list, most of which involve tracking down Bonus and Mastery Coins, which themselves unlock extra challenges. The achievements mainly grant access to supplementary content, such as video and music clips and concept art, but there are also alternate costumes and even cheats to apply.
The graphics style has a sharp edge, but pairs well with the action comic book design. The colors are muted, mimicking the mood and intensity of Jiro's burden, but they tend to make the game's overall look feel faded and bland. The 3D effects add some depth to the backgrounds, giving stronger sense of the magnitude of the global struggle, but don't add much to the gameplay. Ultimately, they're better left turned off should you be trying for a high score, as losing that "sweet spot," even for just a second, can result in catastrophe.
The music starts off promising, especially the catchy title screen score, with a strong Asian theme accompanied by some techno beats. But the poles reverse as the game progresses, with the hard beats saturating the vibe after you've travelled to the future. It still fits wherever the story is trying to go, but just doesn't resonate when trying to feel for Jiro and his arduous task.
Shinobi is not a game for everyone, and it's definitely too much of a burden for Nintendo's regular audience. However, 3DS games requiring complete mastery of button skills and timing are few and far between, and will probably remain that way throughout the handheld's lifetime. This puts games like Shinobi in the small but respected pool which caters to the diehard fans and hardcore gamers. If this select audience can look past the shortcomings of the story and technical aspects, the gameplay challenge is one where dedication and persistence are rewarded with insanely high scores, worthy of true boasting rights.
CCC Contributing Writer