Review: Unemployed in wintertime...
Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja is a game about... well, it's about an unemployed ninja. The unemployed ninja so to speak, is Izuna, a hot (game's words not mine), bubble-headed, girl who travels with her ninja clan, which consists of her "grandboss" Gen-an, Shino-Sis (her sister), and Mitsumoto. Why are Izuna and her clan unemployed? Because ninjas have apparently been deemed "so out of fashion" by their former lord.
Come on, ninjas out of fashion? Yeah right. But remember folks, this is just a game.
Now the clan is traveling the country searching for a place to call home. They find a quaint little village where they rest at the local inn. After about a minute of being in town Grandboss wanders off and Izuna must, because no one else will, go and find him. During her search she manages to upset the gods of the village, who in turn curse the townspeople. Izuna, the only one who is not affected by the curse, must traverse deep into each god's shrine and defeat them, so that the village may once again find peace... and then Izuna and company can get out of there.
So yeah, story and characters are very quirky, fun, and humorous.
On her way to restore the town to the way it was, Izuna will have to fight six gods in a dugeon-crawling RPG. A dungeon-crawler simply means
that you will gather information, run through dungeons collecting items and weapons, all the while fighting enemies to gain experience points that will increase your level, which in turn, increases your stats. If you have ever played a Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy game, that is the gameplay style found here. However, do not expect this to be an easy game by far. There is certainly a great level of difficulty here which is complimented by the randomly generated dungeons and of course the fact that when you are defeated, you lose ALL of your items that you are carrying. Yep, everything you brought with you on your journey into a shrine, will be removed when you get beaten, the only thing you keep is experience.
The only way you can keep items is to put them in the storehouse. The only way to get out of a dungeon to store those items is to use one of many talismans. Talismans have many different powers and can be used one of two ways, either throw them or stick them to a weapon to increase power. Suffice to say, talismans will become your best friend when in dungeons so find the ones that work for you and stick to them.
There are also a wide array of weapons for Izuna to wield, ranging from claws to swords. The more Izuna uses a particular weapon the more she will "love" it. This basically means that her attack power and ability to evade will go up when she has it equipped. However, use a weapon too much and it will shatter, though weapons can be repaired in the village... so long as you don't die first.
You will put those weapons to the test in an Action/RPG fashion with a turn-based mix. It flows like this - Izuna free roams until see engages with an enemy. Then, she will dish a hit, and then the enemy will fight back, then Izuna... etc. The idea is the first one to lose all their health wins.
If you are too worried about running in and out of dungeons all the time to save items, then you will pleased to know that you can just continuously beat up enemies until you level well above them.
The difficulty is also increased by having various traps strung throughout the dungeons. Each trap presents its own set of problems, for example a demon trap will summon a random number of demons to surround you. There is even a trap that will send you straight into a wall for a lot of damage. Since Izuna is a ninja, she has a chance of getting lucky after stepping on a trap only to have it not go off.
Even though Izuna is all about her appearance, her game is not a 3D extravaganza. Instead, it's a 2D breath of fresh air. For all those old RPG players out there desperately clinging to the "good ol' days", your dusty prayers have been answered. Izuna has the look and feel of an SNES game brought into the modern day. Even the sounds of Izuna give the ears a shot at reminiscing, except when Izuna shouts in her oh-so-cute girly way. That's the modern part of the game.