Saturday, May 20, 2017

Jump Ultimate Stars 3DS

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

Every few years, Weekly Shonen Jump magazine releases a new fighting game through the konbini (the Japanese version of convenience stores.) These tend to be pricey games when they come out new, and Book Off had Ultimate Stars for 2,000 yen ($19 USD) for several years. I finally found a copy used at about 900 yen and picked it up for the collection. It's pretty much the same as the earlier Superstars, except for the addition of a bunch of main characters from the newer manga.

(Game selection and options screen.)

The idea is simple. The universe is falling apart and can only be saved by the Jump Stars. The Stars land on a nearby planet in order to do combat with evil, and as they reconquer one planet, they go on to the next. If a friend also has a copy of the game, you can play against them. Otherwise, this is just a top scroller with a layout similar to the old Donkey Kong game. You jump up and down between platforms and fight it out against the other Jump manga characters. The first 30 minutes of the game was just tutorial where the enemy was often just a box or a barrel. After that, I had Luffy fighting the other One Piece leads.

(Stage selection screen. After you clear a stage, you can choose to go to the next one, or replay it to try to unlock any bonuses that you missed the first time.)

The problem here is that you've got a fixed timer and you're comparing the number of KOs against what your opponent gets, and if you knock the opponent character off the screen, they just come back again until the clock runs out. It gets repetitious real fast, and it was almost exactly a knock-off of Superstars. I got bored shortly after wading through the overly-dragged out tutorial and never picked up the cartridge again. It's not even worth trying to unlock the new character art.

(Battle screen. As you unlock various bonuses, you pick up more manga characters that let you make your own "deck," including new battle characters, and supporters (for healing or strength boosts.)

Summary: Jump Ultimate Stars is a blatant money grab from the Jump publishers to cash in on the popularity of their bigger manga titles. But, for all the skill and talent the company has at hand, the game itself just isn't very original or interesting. Not recommended.

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