Official Nintendo Magazine

Log in to access exclusive Nintendo content, win prizes and post on our forums. Not a member yet? Join for free

Shinobi 3DS Review

You want us to be a badass ninja? In 3D? Go on then

Shinobi 3DS review When we last played a preview version of Shinobi we thought it was decent but had our doubts.

There were too many cheap deaths, the horse-riding sections were horrible, the whole thing felt a bit cheap and it didn't look like Griptonite Games would have time to add the polish necessary to make it a good title.

Yet here we are, generously applying ketchup to our hat, because they've managed it.

 Loading video...

Shinobi is a side-scrolling action platformer very much in the style of the old Shinobi arcade and Mega Drive games (some of which can be found on the Wii Virtual Console). You walk

from left to right defeating enemies, opening crates and using your jitsu magic when you need that extra edge.

Click to view larger image
It's an unashamedly simple game and it doesn't care. What's seemingly more important in Shinobi are two things - making you learn your character's skills inside-out and making you feel thoroughly awesome in the process.

Your ninja is armed with a sword for close combat, shuriken daggers for long-distance attacks and the ability to block. Most of the game is played using these three disciplines, and surprisingly it's the latter that's the most satisfying to pull off.

When you hold the R-button your ninja blocks attacks for around half a second - long enough to give you a margin of error so you don't have to block at the exact moment you're attacked, but short enough to make spamming the block button ineffective. Both close attacks and projectiles can be blocked without taking damage, and there's something hugely enjoyable about running towards an enemy, perfectly deflecting the two daggers he's thrown at you, parrying his sword attack then knocking him into the air.

Lethal Weapons

While the combat is fantastic, it still doesn't make up for a potential issue - the sheer difficulty. Shinobi is very much old-school, shamelessly challenging to the extent that even the first level on Normal difficulty will have you dying plenty of times. Levels are also very long, multi-stage affairs that can last upwards of 20 minutes and losing all your lives will take you back to the start of the level, which can be immensely frustrating.

But that's the sort of game Shinobi is. It doesn't want you to zoom through it with no hassle, it wants you to die over and over again as you learn which enemy spawns where, figure out the best tactic to defeat each one and in time become an untouchable ninja warrior.

Click to view larger image
The extra challenge missions (unlocked through either Street Pass or with Play Coins) take this even further, requiring perfect skills with a single hit failing the stage.

Shinobi won't be to everyone's tastes since we're now in an age where games are expected to be easy enough for everyone. But if you like the idea of a game repeatedly handing your backside to you until you learn the ins and outs, Shinobi will give you many hours of fun.

Like this game? Try these:-

Gunstar Heroes review

Aliens Infestation review


10 comments so far...
Add a comment

  1. Religion0 Thursday 10th Nov 2011 at 17:04

    Am I correct in my assessment that it's a hand-held version of Muramasa? It differs, of course, but it looks much the same.

  2. imbusydoctorwho Thursday 10th Nov 2011 at 22:51

    It looks like it could be quite fun,I'll probably get it when the price drops.

  3. fisher2007 Thursday 10th Nov 2011 at 22:59

    I get this when the price drops it does look fun.

  4. mushroomchow Friday 11th Nov 2011 at 09:13

    Might give it a go. I only owned Cyber Shinobi on Master System, which was a train wreck of a game, but Sega Fanboys tell me the original was great. As long as the pace isn't sluggish, I'll buy it. :)

  5. bigterence Sunday 13th Nov 2011 at 18:55

    I do hope this is not a handheld Muramasa,because if it is,then this is another must-have on my must -have list...That takes it up to twenty.

  6. dreamer87 Tuesday 15th Nov 2011 at 12:42

    I got this last week it's a good game but too highly priced (that's just my opinion)
    It's a very retro game so some people may be put of by it also it's very difficult even on beginner it presents a challenge.

    Whats really annoying though is on normal mode you get five lives and once they are up you must begin at the start of the stage which is very frustrating.

    Beginner mode gives you unlimited lives which is good for people (like me) who maybe get frustrated starting at the beginning of the stage each time your lives run out. Also begginer mode gives you a chance to get used to the tough gameplay. I haven't used the street pass yet so I cannot comment on it. Soundtrack to the game is awesome. It's a fairly good game but there are moments were it will (and does) test your paitence but I think it's a very good game.

    I do think Ł35 (thats what I paid for it) is too steep considering games of this calibre can now be purchased via virtual console as it does feel very retro.

  7. englishGAMER Saturday 31st Dec 2011 at 12:09

    I've seen this game for Ł13 at my local GAME shop, I might buy it today.

  8. bitbob Wednesday 4th Jan 2012 at 20:18

    got this game for Ł12 at game on tuesday :D

  9. Mr.Gray Tuesday 26th Jun 2012 at 09:21

    Great game for great prize. It seems extremly hard if you play it for a first time, but after I finished it on easy dificulty, I belive, that I can do it also on Normal and maybe one day, I'll manage to beat it on hard dificulty.

  10. S20TEW Tuesday 26th Mar 2013 at 11:20

    Dose what it says on the tin total retro game from good old days if that's what looking for its a must now even more so wouldn't pay full price but for Ł5 out of game on offer like its time 2 buy but expect one hell of a challenge they never made it easy and that's just the beginner mode lol :)

Register or log in to commment
Add a comment
Nintendo Co., Ltd. is the owner of certain copyright which subsists and trade marks and other intellectual property rights in certain content, characters, artwork, logos, scripts and representations used in this publication. All rights are expressly recognised and they are used by Future Publishing Limited under licence © 2006 Nintendo Co., Ltd. All rights reserved. "Nintendo", "International Nintendo Licensed Product" "Nintendo DS", "Nintendo DS Lite", "Nintendo DSi", "Nintendo 3DS", "Nintendo DSi XL", "Nintendo 3DS XL", "Wii" and "Wii U" and the associated logos are the trademarks of Nintendo Co. Ltd. All rights reserved.