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Nintendo 3DS Game Review
If we are being honest games aimed at a younger audience tend not to be very good, presumably because the gamers themselves are not particularly discerning. This is, generally, not the case with LEGO games which have gone from strength to strength and appeared across many consoles and genres.
LEGO Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin is the latest action adventure LEGO game for the Nintendo 3DS from developers TT Fusion and a direct follow on from the 2014 release. It is based upon the LEGO figurine sets they produce, there is also an animated show, and both the first sets and the animated show initially appeared in 2011.
The latest game has all the elements one would expect to see. The plot is comedic, although if you’re not a fan of the show some of the jokes will go straight over your head. You progress through the narrative by solving problems. Different characters will have different attributes, whether it is the ability to create a whirlwind or use a sword and through these abilities you are able to defeat enemies, open switches and in combination with another ninja, hang off ropes to open doors.
The plot, such as it is, involves a new threat to the team, the Ronin, who is backed by an army of dark samurai. So Kai, Cole, Zane and Jay start, in the battle, at a disadvantage, as the Ronin has stolen their memories using the Obsidian Glaive. You, as the player, must help the ninja regain their memories and hence their powers before taking down Ronin. In order to regain their previous abilities the player must find the Obsidian weapons.
This will involve a lot of fighting and puzzle solving. Like previous LEGO games, along the way you can gather ‘studs’ which unlock bricks, collect the bricks and you unlock further options and characters. The game is designed to be played through twice, first to open up characters with more abilities so that you can play the game through the second time opening up all the secret areas which were denied to you the first go round.
The game contains locations from the Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitsu television program which are well rendered in the game and although the 3D is good, it is not as good as I have seen in other games. In the game you face off against well known adversaries such as Serpentine, both on foot and in an array of vehicles.
LEGO have hit on a successful formula for games which are both suitable for the 7+ age range as well as being entertaining for adults. It’s true that unless you have seen the show some of the comedic nuances will pass you by. It’s not like Ninjago is as well known as their Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel or Lord of the Rings franchises, but the underlying game remains as much fun to play as its better known cousins, what it lacks in game play innovation it makes up with playing pleasure.
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