Note: This review was done before the "Foil Aizen's Plot" update.
If there’s one thing in this world that I have complete support over, it would definitely be crossover games like Marvel vs. Capcom, Kingdom Hearts, Super Smash Bros., FusionFall, Etc. These games generally introduce people to a series or franchise they would have never been interested in and mix them up to bring out the best of each collaborative world.
Pockie Ninja is sadly not one of those games.
Game321 created a new (and unofficial) online browser game that creates a crossover MMO experience between the Naruto Shippuden and Bleach manga series. It sounds like an awesome idea on paper, but the game turns out to be a painfully simple experience.
It starts off with you selecting some third-tier story character from either Naruto or Bleach like Shikamaru Nara or Shinji Hirako. You can’t play as any main characters such as Sasuke or Ichigo right away, so I decided to stick with Shikamaru since he was the only character I moderately liked from the whole bunch. You’ll also have to pick which ninja village you’ll be representing, each of which will give you different stats boosts to your character.
After you’ve made your selections, you’ll watch your character get his ass handed to him/her by Garaa and then a long and boring string of tutorial quests will begin.
The game functions like a typical MMORPG where you accept quests, find items, tweak stats, level up, earn skills/equipment and whatnot, but everything about these features are average and self-explanatory, so there’s not much of a reason for me to even mention them.
The actual combat aspect in particular is the weakest part about the game. It plays out like an anime version of “MyBrute”, as in “it’s a game that plays itself.” When you want to battle an NPC or another player, you simply click through a few menus and watch the fight.
Yeah… that’s about it.
You have absolutely no influence on the outcome of the battle other than determining what skills and equipment you want your character to use beforehand, so pretty much every battle in Pockie Ninja is determined as soon as the battle has started.
But even if you don’t want to watch your character to battle, you can initiate something called a “chain attack” that lets you battle multiple enemies within a set amount of time. The thing about chain attacks is that these take a ridiculously long time to complete and it would just be faster to complete each battle one by one. Of course, you can use gold (purchasable with real money) or coupons to complete your chain attacks instantly, but that just makes the game seem like even more of a lazy experience.
Since MyBru… err… Pockie Ninja is a browser game, don’t expect too much from the visuals. The areas that you move around on have some nice backgrounds for you to look at, and all the characters have a decent chibi style to them. Animations during battles, however, are poorly done which is a real bummer, because despite this being a game that plays itself, it would have been conforming to know if each automated battle was at least fun to look at. A lot of the music used in Pockie Ninja was taken straight from the Naruto anime series, so if you’re into some soothing oriental tunes, you’ll be in for treat. I know I was.
The whole “Showdown of Naruto vs. Bleach” thing seems pretty non-existent, as the game tends to focus on Naruto more than anything, making the Bleach characters feel incredibly out of place, not to mention since the game is called Pockie NINJA, and Bleach characters are more samurai-ish than ninja, anyway (with the exception of characters like Yoruichi and Soi-Fon). There’s not even much of a story between the two, as all of the quests sound like something out of a generic piece of Naruto fan-fiction.
To conclude: Pockie Ninja is a game with an excellent concept, but with such poor execution, it feels more like a chore than a game. I’m not exactly sure why anyone would play this, but perhaps I’m simply not a part of this game’s target audience. Only die-hand fans of Naruto and Bleach might get a kick out of this, but for anyone wanting a real Naruto vs. Bleach crossover, you’re better off trying to pick up a copy of Jump! Ultimate Stars for your Nintendo DS.