Protagonist Juro Musashi also has more flexibility in terms of movement than previous side-scrollers. You can double jump, slide, cling to walls, wall-jump and use a chain to grab onto high ceilings. In a nod to Shinobi history, you can shift up or down to multiple planes of action; however, instead of just jumping between two levels of platforms, this has been expanded to allow you to climb under some platforms and hang.
A couple of mini-game type events also bring back memories of old Shinobi games while keeping things fresh. The first-person "throw shuriken at a bunch of ninja" game is back, though now it uses touchscreen controls in an odd echo of the shuriken game demonstrated in Nintendo's Wii U video. I was told that button controls might be added for that as well. Another interstitial sequence had me riding a horse, jumping over felled trees and taking out other equestrian ninja, like the dramatic second stage of Shinobi 3. But in this version, the perspective is a tilted 3D view, riding into the screen for maximum 3D-ness. This also allows Griptonite to add multiple planes of obstacles, so you have to steer left and right while jumping and fighting.
So far, Griptonite seems to be totally onto something with this game. Looking back at the past few years, I'm a little disturbed by how few side-scrolling ninja games there have been -- when in the 8- and 16-bit eras that was every other game. I'm glad the developer has stepped up to bring that canonically classic genre of game back and modernize it. I should also note that it's really difficult, especially that horse sequence, and I died a bunch. And that's something I feel discerning ninja-game fans look for.
- Key specs
- Game format Downloadable, Cartridge
- Screen size 3.53 inches
- Online features Multiplayer, Store, Browser
- Direction control D-pad, Thumb stick (1)
- Motion controls Accelerometer, Camera / optical
- Dimensions 0.8 x 5.3 x 2.9 in
- Weight 8 oz
- Released 2011-03-27
Nintendo DS Lite