What a title for a game! Ninja Usagimaru: The Gem of Blessings is truly a Japanese name and actually so is the game! It is a recent addition to the 3DS Eshop promising to be a unique puzzler which always catches my eye of course! As you know I feel like there are a lot of these types of game one the Eshop as I review most of them. With Pazuru and Sumico scoring highly with me, will this one keep up the high standard?
Let’s start with the looks, now this game is not going to shatter any graphics chips in your 3DS but it is a wee platform puzzler and for this purpose the graphics are more than capable. The cartoony arcade retro looks of things are suitable for the affair. The levels are laid out well and you always know what you need to do to progress. The music and sound are fine too, nothing special but are good for what is going on.
The story of the game is quite simple really, even quite non-existent. You are a ninja saving villagers from Japanese ghosts, I get the concept, you progress through fifty levels of this, but at the same time there is no progression at the same time, you just do the same thing over and over again. That isn’t fair to say though, this is a puzzle game meaning every level means there is a new puzzle, and every puzzle builds in difficulty. What I mean by saying that there is no progression, is just in the way of story. However then again this is a puzzle game, how much of a story do you want? It’s as long as the gameplay and puzzles are good eh?
Well thankfully these puzzles range from decent to good for me. Have you played a box moving puzzle game? I am sure you have, this game isn’t too dissimilar, it’s just it’s been mixed with a 2D platformer game. Some box moving puzzle games would have a straight down view or an isometric view for your player character pushing blocks in a maze to make an escape or free a hostage or whatever. This is pretty similar in gameplay styles as that except you are viewing the action from the side and your player character jumps and lifts the blocks.
Expanding on the gameplay you have a level laid out for you, say there’s a villager kidnapped, a ghost and four blocks with a couple of jumps to make. You need to pile the blocks up to jump up to a platform and you need to move the other block to be put upon the ghost, this releases the village and you can move to save them and end the level. Putting it this way makes it sound simple and to be honest it is, especially when you see the tutorial really gives you all the moves before you get into the real game.
The puzzles become harder as you progress some to the point that you wonder if you are playing the same game as you started with! I would say some of the puzzles become very difficult impossible seeming, but that’s what makes this a puzzle game that’s worthwhile, the hard thought brings satisfaction, that’s if you can get through the frustratingly hard puzzle in the first place! You get a lot of extras with the villagers you save giving you a lot of different items for a crafting system too, this makes it a further interesting challenge too. The controls can be confusing as well at points though, everything considered this is a bit of a mixed bag really with more positives than negatives though!
I would say this sits nicely with the better puzzle games on the 3DS Eshop myself and would recommend it to people looking for a unique puzzle experience. While it has some flaws as well I would say for the price it’s worth a go for me even if it does frustrate in some parts!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo 3DS code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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