Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble

Game review by
Mark Raby, Common Sense Media
Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble Game Poster Image
Easy combat game where player takes the role of hero.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Although the only real form of gameplay is fighting, in the main single-player mode of the game, players are always fighting the bad guys. It does instill the message that fighting is an acceptable way to confront an adversary, but it does not glamorize senseless violence. However, in the multi-player mode, players are allowed to choose any character they want, and all characters face off in a brawl. In this context, it is presented more as a contest of skill and dexterity, but it still does allow players to beat up on non-enemy characters.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Naruto, the namesake of the game and of the enormous media franchise, is the indisputable role model in this game. While his modus operandi is always to fight and pummel away those who stand his way, he does have good intentions. He is a heroic character who stands up for what is right, and only brings physical combat against characters who pose a threat to the well-being of him and his friends.

Ease of Play

Some fighting games employ very complex controls and require players to memorize huge strings of button presses in order to fully succeed. This game is not one of those. The combat system is basic and it is possible to progress through the game by merely "button mashing" or using the same attack over and over again. There are combo attacks and special moves for those wishing to learn the more advanced combat controls, but this is not a requirement.

Violence

This is a fighting game. As such, violent content is absolutely unavoidable, although it is mitigated by the fact that all characters are either cartoony humans or animal creatures. That being said, though, characters can still attack in direct physical combat, with moves like punches and kicks. With other attacks including giant fireballs and the ability to turn into a clone, this is certainly not a realistic fighting excursion, but it is a 100% fighting game nonetheless. There is also one scene during a story sequence in which a character is depicted with a small amount of blood, but never is blood present in battles or when players are controlling the action.

Sex

There is one reference in the game's dialogue to an attack called "Sexy Jutsu," which is a well-known part of the Naruto franchise; however, there are no overtly graphic depictions of this attack in actual player-controlled combat.

Language

One of the game's characters is referred to in dialogue as a pervert or "Pervy Sage." There are also some swear words, including "ass," "bastard," and "dammit." However, the foul language does not overpower the dialogue, and it feels less than gratuitous.

Consumerism

The game is based on the Naruto Shippuden TV series.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that like many Naruto games, Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble is a fighting game. It consists almost entirely of just beating up one opponent after the other. Being set in the fantastical world where Naruto lives, it is easy to distinguish the action in this game from violence in real life, but there are still realistic elements that make their way through. There are direct, hand-to-hand attacks and strong special moves that players can perform, but because Naruto is known as a ninja with special training, the action comes off more as a means of self-defense rather than a deliberate violent rampage.

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What's it about?

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: SHINOBI RUMBLE puts players in anime character Naruto's shoes. As a hero in a world filled with enemies, Naruto constantly finds himself in situations where he has to defend himself and defeat his adversaries in order to continue on his journey. That is the backdrop for this fighting game, in which players tackle one adversary after the other. Players can punch and kick their opponents, but the more useful attacks are the ones that are more fantastical -- fireballs, explosions, and anything else that results in bright bursts of color. The fights are presented as battles of skill more than relentless beating and bashing, and with the context of hero versus enemy, the impact is lessened. However, players cannot escape the message that violence is an acceptable form of behavior for Naruto, the hero.

Is it any good?

Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble is more accessible than most fighting games, many of which continue to be more and more complex. Players can easily pick it up and start playing, and with 16 characters to choose from, fans of the Naruto franchise should appreciate seeing all of their favorites as selectable combatants. There is an underlying story as players progress through each battle in single-player mode, which adds some cohesion to an otherwise jumble of random confrontations. Like many other Naruto fighting games, this one is true to the series and should not disappoint anyone who appreciates the long-running anime series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Parents can talk about why this game is different than real life. Why is it best to avoid violence whenever possible?

  • What are other ways to solve problems?

  • How can you defend yourself without resorting to violence?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS
  • Price: $29.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Atlus
  • Release date: February 8, 2011
  • Genre: Fighting
  • ESRB rating: T for Cartoon Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes

For kids who love action and speed in their games

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