Review: Ninja Usagimaru: The Mysterious Karakuri Castle (3DS)

Last year Aksys Games released a pretty unique, cute, and challenging puzzle game titled, Ninja Usagimaru – The Gem of Blessingsfor the 3DS. This year, Aksys Games is at it again with the release of Ninja Usagimaru -The Mysterious Karakuri Castle. When I first saw this game, I had no clue what I was getting into. All I had going for me was, that I know I have never touched the first title, but knew I liked puzzle games, and I like titles published by Aksys Games. This then made me jump into the head scratching Ninja Usagimaru -The Mysterious Karakuri Castle, but is this a title you should jump into? Let’s find out with our latest review.




The story begins with the character Usagimaru, “a legendary hero who wondered the land as the wind or his will took him”. Well, the winds decide to take Usagimaru “back to the village he once called home.” where he stumbles upon a badly wounded rabbit he recognizes as Toyoukebime who then tells Usagimaru that the village was attacked and all of the villagers were abducted and it is up to Usagimaru to rescue them.

As you progress though the game the story is the usual hero-saving-helpless-villagers story that we all have seen before. It’s nice but plain, and as anyone who has played puzzle games knows, puzzles games do not need stories. It is a nice touch, I give it that, but it does not really engage the player to do better. What I am trying to say is, the story is there but it isn’t that special to stand out for players, or for even have enough to make players care.




The art style of Ninja Usagimaru -The Mysterious Karakuri Castle uses Japanese water colors and chibi anime style to present itself in such a nice and subtle way. It blends well, which helps make the game match its ninja protagonist and the Japanese folklore enemies. I can not really complain much on any of the visuals, because when first turning on Ninja Usagimaru, the title screen and the gameplay do not mislead players with any of its art and the direction it leads to.


So, let’s just get this out the way: I usually put an audio breakdown in my reviews, but this time I avoided it. Mainly because Ninja Usagimaru: The Mysterious Karakuri Castle soundtrack lacks. Most of the time its just a loop of the same 30 secs of audio.

Ok, since that is out of the way, the gameplay is quite addicting. Players will find themselves playing 60 different puzzle stages without the game holding your hand. A lot of times, players will even be so puzzled they will have to try, and try again, numerous amount of times just to figure out how to take each puzzle on. Whether its saving a villager, getting a block to the right place, or even crushing a kidnapper, Ninja Usagimaru: The Mysterious Karakuri Castle will have you scratching your head a few times per stage



Ninja Usagimaru: The Mysterious Karakuri Castle is game that his hard, and excellent to look at, but lacks in music/audio and story is plain(which like I said before, is not important for a puzzle game).Would I recemmoend it? Yes, Ninja Usagimaru: The Mysterious Karakuri Castle is a nice pick up for the 3DS owners, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a challenge. As for new players, it’s a nice pick up to jump back and forth into for some pretty difficult challenges.

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