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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Naruto Online is a browser-based or software-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) where players are ninjas embarking on their own journeys in the Naruto universe, a popular manga. Players recruit original characters from the series and engage in intense ninjutsu battles against other ninjas wielding the powers of the elements: earth, fire, wind or lighting. Players proceed through the story leveling their characters, build teams by collecting familiar ninjas from the series, and battle in a turn-based combat system. The goal is to collect items and level your ninjas to greater power and levels. Naruto Online is free to play, but the game utilizes many timers, clickable icons, and daily rewards to encourage the use of real money to buy items in the online item mall or cash shop, which can get expensive. The timed rewards get longer and longer in duration, which encourages players to continue to play for extended periods. There's also an open-chat system that parents need to be aware of and have necessary conversations about for younger children.
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What's it about?
NARUTO ONLINE is set in the Naruto and Naruto Shippuden storyline, where players embark on a journey as a ninja learning how to compete and grow while gathering more ninjas to your team through familiar locations such as Village Hidden in the Sand and the Valley of the End. Those familiar with the world of Naruto will recognize the setting, the characters, and the combat. With the ability to play in a single-player mode while following the storyline, as well as hosting multiplayer dungeons and giant world bosses, there are many ways to experience the Naruto universe. Plus, with over 170 familiar ninjas to recruit, the number of teams and tactics you can make seems endless.
Is it any good?
This very simple-to-play MMO holds true to the spirit, graphical style, and setting of the manga, but gamers looking for depth or complexity will be disappointed with this average title. Those who love the series will really connect with the game and will enjoy collecting all the characters in the universe. But newcomers may feel that it's really lacking as a true MMO. Since this game does have a browser-based component, it's very accessible and playable from most platforms. But the downside with this accessibility is that the graphics and visual effects are significantly lower-quality than other comparable games. Naruto Online's combat is turn-based, which makes it strategic and tactical, allowing players to build teams that have complimentary abilities and moves. But the ability to have many features be automated through combat or regular tasks can make it feel like this is a game to watch rather than play. For example, as you follow the storyline, you character is just moved from location to location. Similarly, combat can be dull when you're not actively participating in it.
The challenge of the game lies in collecting items to upgrade your gear to make you stronger so you can take on stronger fights. But the diversity of items needed to power up your ninjas can get confusing, and so can the balance of team position and composition. With very few tutorials to help you along, it takes a willingness to experiment and ask questions. The clutter of the user interface also detracts from the experience, because it's clear that the game is trying to keep you clicking on all the timed daily, weekly, and event-based rewards. Fortunately, when you're actively participating in combat, the interface simplifies and is much more enjoyable. Overall, there are some good parts of Naruto Online, such as the well-written story and cut scenes that feel like they come from the manga or TV show, but there are enough flaws with the game to keep it as solely a game for hard-core Naruto fans only.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about consumerism in a game such as Naruto Online. How can a free-to-play game get expensive if real money is used to buy convenience items to gain experience or level faster? Why do you think games sell these types of items?
Talk about privacy and internet safety. Why is it important to make sure you're having safe and appropriate conversations when chatting in an online game? What could be the danger in sharing too much information?
- Platforms: Facebook, Mac, Windows
- Pricing structure: Paid, Free (Free to Play with significant opportunities for micro-transaction purchases)
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Oasis Games
- Release date: July 20, 2016
- Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG)
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Sports and Martial Arts, Superheroes, Book Characters
- ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.