Shinobi Delivers a Rare 3DS Game To Get Excited About

Ignore that this is a 3D game for Nintendo's latest portable. Ignore that it's been nearly a decade since we've seen a new title staring Joe Musashi. Embrace, instead, the fact that this is a Shinobi that fans of the 1987 side-scrolling arcade game may recognize and could come to love.

I only had about 15 minutes with the game during a week of playing games, doing interviews, watching presentations about all sorts of hotly anticipated, eagerly awaited games. But somehow Shinobi stands clear in my memory.

In the game, you take on the role of Jiro Musashi, the leader of the Oboro clan and father of Joe Mushashi, the star of the original Shinobi.

I played Shinobi, which is being developed by Griptonite, using the 3DS' thumbstick and face buttons. (We were told that D-pad gameplay will also be supported) Initially I played it with the 3D amped all of the way up, but soon realized that it added nothing to the gameplay. And, fortunately, it doesn't need to.

This is a Shinobi that leans heavily on the classic gameplay elements of that original arcade title that made it such a blast to play when I was in high school. This is a game that drops you back in the days of simple controls and a reliance on perfect timing.

View gallery »

You can block attacks if you time your attack correctly, you grab onto low hanging roofs, or certain ceilings to avoid attacks. You've got an array of weapons and moves, like the katana, throwing knives, magic attacks and even a grappling hook.

This is a game I'm going to enjoy picking through on my 3DS, playing and replaying from the many checkpoints until I nail the parries, the timed jumps, the wall climbing. All to bring in as many points as possible, a system that will certainly have me playing and replaying this game when it hits in September.

What we didn't get a chance to check out was the game's "exciting new features and experiences" which we were told were designed to take specific advantage of the 3DS. I believe one of those will likely be the horse riding scenes, which look like they could lean heavily on the 3D if implemented correctly.