Jump is a manga company/publisher in Japan who owns a large proportion to the rights of most Japanese cartoons that you have seen. These feature the likes of Dragon Ball, Naruto, One Piece, GTO and Rurouni Kenshin. In America they are under various different companies, what does this mean? Licensing makes it next to impossible for this game to ever be released outside Japan. Fear not! I cannot read a word of Japanese yet I own this game and have 100% completed it.
If you are a fan of anime then you simply must get this game, there is no way any Otaku would pass up the opportunity to own this game. If you love Super Smash Brothers there is also no way you should pass over this game.
Imagine all those characters from practically every decent Japanese anime series on one screen trying to KO each other, it makes for some serious fun.
The story is about some guy who does something and you have to beat him up at various stages, pretty infrequent and looks funny. As I said I read no Japanese so I had zilch of an idea what was going on. The Menu’s are in Japanese along with everything else, when you buy this game it's a given that you use gamefaq’s for a translation guide (they have some good ones).
You travel various to Zones on a map and have to fulfil certain criteria in order to complete each mission. These can be a range of things such as don’t get KO’d, break all the walls, don’t use X, Eat the most fruit, never double jump etc... This is why a guide is so important because all your objectives in each zone are in Japanese, its impossible without it.
The order of the missions is specific to a point, once you have done one objective in them you move onto the next. If you want to you can choose any pervious level on the world map and can backtrack wherever you want as and when you please.
The fights themselves are set inside the pages of a manga book, which acts as a frame for the arena’s that are also anime themed. The barriers of pages can be broken and other characters can be knocked out of the ring, only from the sides though. It is a 2d game with a SSB feel to the movement and view. There are items that make you stronger, faster or poisoned as well as items that will heal you (fruit) and charge your spirit meter (coins).
What makes it different from most is that your fighters are highly customisable. On the bottom screen there is a 5x4 grid of squares that you add Panels to. These panels come in 3 types playable Characters, Support items and Support Characters. Its pretty standard that the more squares a character takes up the stronger they will be. Each grid you make had to have at least one of each panel type, the combinations are vast when you see the variety you get to choose from,plus all the unlockable extra's (one panel per task complete). For example I made a Dragon Ball Z deck where I had Piccolo, Goku and Vegeta as the playable characters, Gohan as a support attack character and a Sensu bean to heal the character. You can mix and match from other series as well so Kenshin Himoura and Yu Gi Oh can be on the same team.
You can change characters in battle as and when you please by taping them with the touch screen, however if they are knocked out you will have to wait a while to use them again. When a character has low health they start to appear in a shade of grey, this is always the time where you should attack them with full power =). Each character has their own special move that will inflict the most damage, of course this has limits. There is a blue bar which you build up by collecting coins and from this bar support actions and special abilities can be used. So if you want to use a special attack the blue bar looses some juice, the same if you want to use any support panel. This adds an element of thought for the player, Do you attack with all your might or conserve energy so you can heal? Later in the game you unlock 3 squares that can connect 2 characters together making them perform a combination of their special attacks. If used wisely this ability is a showstopper.
It’s a lovely system and suits the game so well, here’s the but. To know what each character is like and what each support icon does you have to try it out. This means making a deck and experimenting, again there are FAQ’s that explain them but you need to be able to recognise all characters from their pictures (I only knew a couple of series in the game). Also it is a pain when you first get characters because you don’t just simply unlock them, oh no that’s far too easy. What happens is that you unlock their panel minus one piece, their face and this is unlocked separately. To make the character you have to match the face to the panel, a hard task when you have no idea who the character is and no clue about Japanese... again a guide really can help you make this a less tedious task but you will use guess work a lot.
The game will last you a while on solo player but it isn’t really too hard. I got 100% completion rate with little challenge. Ideally I would say get this game if there is someone you know who would also play it with you. Multiplayer modes are the main appeal of games such as these.
If you have been thinking of getting it but have reservations about the language barrier, don’t worry about it as it isn’t complex to the point that you won’t enjoy it.
Anime and SSB fans this is a must for you and your DS owning mates.
Multiplayer is key to my opinion on this game, for the solo play only I would give it 7/10 as games like these are meant to be battles between mates.