Review: Shinobi for the Nintendo 3DS

PHOTO: Game play screen shot for Nintendo 3DS game, "Shinobi."

The game "Shinobi" for the Nintendo 3DS pits you, as a ninja from feudal Japan, thrust into a future of terminator-like machines and monstrous other worldly creations. Your only weapons in this fight are your trusty katana blade, a never-ending supply of throwing knives and, hopefully, a set of sharp reflexes.

Shinobi is a side scrolling platformer that features arcade-style jumping and fighting. It's a game where regardless of how good you are, you are expected to take a ton of damage while navigating spike filled pits and hordes of off-screen baddies.

The third dimension that the Nintendo 3DS provides does little to add to the experience, the times where obstacles flew in from the foreground were few and far between. Not much jumps off the screen here and I avoided eye strain by playing the game with the 3-D effect off for most of its duration.

I've never played the previous incarnations of the Shinobi franchise, and there have been many, but something tells me that even if I were a Shinobi aficionado, it wouldn't help me very much in piecing together the exact plot of this quest. One second you'll be fighting a ninja master in the snows of ancient Japan, the next you'll be jumping from Humvee to Humvee on a modern-day highway.

A few flesh-eating brains and massive mechanical lava sharks later, you'll stop trying to make sense of it all and just focus on honing your ninja abilities. The game is challenging in the same way that the best Sega Genesis games were back in the day, with a particularly great collection of bosses to beat.

I enjoyed playing through Shinobi, even its completely unexpected final act, which I will refrain from giving away here. Sega and Griptonite put everything in this game but the kitchen sink and it's definitely worth picking up for some old fashioned ninja based arcade fun.

Shinobi for the Nintendo 3DS is available now for $39.99.

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