Naruto is one of those overly popular series that best serve to bring new people into the anime culture. As with any popular license Namco Bandai has seen fit to milk the franchise for its worth, bringing us to the latest title to come from the franchise, Naruto: Ninja Council.
There are two main ways to ‘get your ninja on’ here. First we have the mission mode, which consists of a grid of forty missions to play through, some of which will even award you with new characters. The missions break down into three varieties. For starters there are the boss battles, where you have to use a special technique on an opponent. Then there are the hunting missions where you have to kill a given number of wild animals, such as wolves or bats. Last is the treasure hunt, where you have to locate an item.
All of the above missions have you select a character to play as, and then select a few extra special techniques from any other characters you have unlocked. Each character has four of slots to fill. Once in battle you can select your chosen moves from the touch screen. The character will pop up and run in the direction you’re facing, prompting you to pull off the move on the touch screen.
Ninja Council uses the touch screen a lot; even when starting a new game you start off by selecting a scroll and using the stylus to open it up. In missions is where it really comes in useful though. As you use it for the special techniques it’s easier to pick up and play than fighting games that rely on long button combinations to pull off a special move.
The mission mode is essentially a practice mode for multiplayer brawls. It doesn’t have a story tying the fights together. Not even a thin one like you would expect from a fighting game. If you fail a mission the game offers you a hint on how to complete it; such as going for stationary animals.
Once you’ve gone through the forty single player levels you can take on up to three friends in Party mode. Just like in the mission mode, multiplayer types break down into three types of level: Treasure Hunt, where the first player to find the treasure wins; Scroll Battle, where players collect scrolls by attacking each other; and Battle Royal, a basic death match mode where the last man standing wins. Unfortunately, there is no online play and wi-fi link play requires everyone to have the game.
This is a bare-bones platform fighting game and will probably only appeal to Naruto fans. There’s no shortage of games based on this franchise, and unfortunately this is one of the weaker titles.