Moby ID: 53570
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Shinobi is not necessarily a sequel nor a remake. At it's core, it's an infusion of modern technology, control and design styles combined with the classic gameplay, style, and ideals of classic Genesis-era Shinobi games. Shinobi for the 3DS it is a side-scrolling action game where the 3-D depth and visuals are used to layer challenges such as traps and enemy attacks. The gameplay world is modeled in 3D and the style is that of a modern 2.5D game. As such, when the player is moving through areas, the levels will rotate in 3-D along paths, but gameplay will remain in a 2-D plane.

Taking control of Jiro Musashi, players must utilize quick reflexes and careful planning to fight, slash, jump, and climb their way through levels. Like Shinobi III on the Genesis/Mega-Drive, Jiro has a double jump, from which a down-ward katana strike may be launched, or where Jiro may throw a swath shuriken outward in a circle covering a large area of the stage. Jiro also comes equipped with wall-jumping abilities which, in classic gaming fashion, tend to be put to the test in areas with pointy surfaces. Up to five shuriken may be thrown in quick succession, after which there is a brief waiting period where Jiro "readies" five more shuriken. Players also have the ability to block or parry attacks from enemies, and utilizing this skill becomes highly important to regular gameplay, and learning to use it becomes a necessity to survive some enemy and boss encounters. The block only activates for about half a second, so holding down the block button does not initiate continual blocking as in games such as Mortal Kombat. It's designed as a test of reflexes and skills. Like Contra 4, Jiro also has a grapple hook that can be fired upwards to reach and cling to high places, and also like Contra 4, the game is steeped in classic platforming and movement challenges, including reflex-testing jumps to small platforms (like the notorious falling-rock jumping sequence from Shinobi III), and navigation through areas where Jiro must cling to the ceiling, ropes, or other structures to navigate tricky areas. Also returning from past Shinobi games is the Ninja magic, which can be selected on the touch-screen and activated with the L button. Finally, as if all this wasn't enough, there are stealth-kill events where the player may walk up to an enemy who's back is turned and press the X button to activate a quick kill. This also comes into play during boss battles where a devastating attack from behind may be performed on a temporarily stunned boss.

With all these abilities, the game is designed to be extremely physically challenging in combat and movement, and intended to be rewarding when performed well. Shinobi has a complex points and score system, involving combos and deflected attacks. A consequence of this score system is that points are lost when Jiro takes damage. Players can test their skills later and try for personal higher scores in Free Play mode on completed stages. High scores, fastest times and a letter grade are all recorded upon completion of a stage.

Shinobi's StreetPass functionality is similar to Super Mario 3D Land, where challenge stages may be purchased with Play Coins or unlocked if communication occurs with another 3DS system with Shinobi content. Street Pass Challenges are small "virtual reality" style stages where the idea is to complete the challenge quickly and without taking damage. Despite the visible life bar, the stage ends if Jiro is hit even once.

There is a vast collection of extras in the game, including Achievements and Awards. Achievements work like typical Xbox 360-style Achievements chronicling progress, successes like defeating a boss quickly, and the occasional blunder such as being killed for the first time by an environmental object. A wide variety of cheats are also unlocked through gameplay that may be used in Freeplay mode. These include things like activating automatic parrying, infinite magic use, or different weapons, like a sword from Golden Axe. There is also a Dojo to practice moves and abilities. A large Awards section allows players to listen to music tracks, movies, and concept art unlocked through gameplay. Another feature that will remind players of Contra 4 is the History section. Like the Museum in that title, this serves as a detailed history of the Shinobi franchise with synopses and facts about each game in the series' long history.

The story is fairly straightforward tale of betrayal, with a smattering of animated cutscenes between levels to tell the story. As noted, the star of this ninja adventure is Jiro Musashi, who is the father of Joe Musashi, the star of the original Shinobi games. What's important is the hectic ninja action, emphasis on skills and reflexes... and at least one boss fight of ninja versus helicopter!

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Credits (Nintendo 3DS version)

311 People (276 developers, 35 thanks) · View all

Lead Artist
Lead Designer
Lead Programmers
Gameplay Programmer
Lead Animator
Environment Artists
Lead Content Designer
Content Designer
UI Artist
Japanese Calligraphy
Audio Manager
Sound Design
Additional Programming
Challenge Map Design
[ full credits ]



Average score: 71% (based on 41 ratings)


Average score: 4.3 out of 5 (based on 4 ratings with 1 reviews)

A worthy & fun entry in the Shinobi series & one of the best even. Plenty of classic & plenty of freshness.

The Good
Adjustable difficulty. Great control & variety of attacks. Action packed pace! Has a handful of some of the hardest platforming ever, where first you have to figure out how then you actually have to pull them off. There is a stage that crosses over with Afterburner as you face ninjas on the back of a flying jet plane.

The Bad
No ability to run. Shurikens recharge instead of having you collect them, ok overall but there are too many times you wish you didn't have to wait around to get them back. The stages feel quite long but do offer a sense of accomplishment & relief when you beat them. The grappling hook is rarely a necessity. The 3D effect was inconsistent & usually unimpressive. One boss, Super Soldier, has a tedious attack pattern with lots of annoying yells, very reminiscent of Iron Man X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal.

The Bottom Line
Good enough to have been a direct sequel to Shinobi III or Legions. Shares the most in common with Shinobi III of all in the series but misses the atmosphere, tight level design, & thrilling bosses of that game. If you prefer pace & action to stealth & tact this may be the 2nd best in the series.

Nintendo 3DS · by Emperor MAR (2598) · 2016


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Game added by ResidentHazard.

Game added November 21, 2011. Last modified June 16, 2023.