Bubble Ninja is a browser-based 2D side-scrolling role-playing game developed by Linekong. Based on the popular Naruto series, the game follows old school role-playing rules with gameplay elements and interface heavily inspired by MapleStory. It is currently in open beta phase and can be accessed by signing up or connecting via Facebook.
The character creation screen is very basic and does not lean toward any complicated customization. All you have to do is select a character profile image by clicking on it, type in your avatar name and click "Enter Game" to begin playing. Of the 4 characters, three characters, namely Sasuke, Temari and a younger looking Raikage are from the Naruto universe. The fourth character might be developer's own creation. If you place the mouse pointer over each character profile, you will be able to see its abilities, basic weapons and rare Ninjutsu skills. Beyond this, there is nothing you can do. There is neither a way to customize a character, nor any option to choose gender. However, you can customize character skills and abilities while playing.
Gameplay revolves around traditional role-playing elements. Everything from combat and quest system to character attribute distributions is influenced by old school JRPG games like Chrono Trigger. The game uses a traditional point and click interface, allowing players to click and converse with an NPC or fight against a monster. The rather simplistic navigation and control makes it fairly easy for newbie gamers.
Bubble Ninja allows players to explore a variety of worlds. There's a separate world where you converse with non-playing characters, accept quests and trade items. Other worlds house pets, deadly monsters and training academies that are tasked to teach various forms of Ninjutsu. You will need to interact with characters, accept quests in one world and get teleported to a new world associated with that quest. Different types of quests range from fighting monsters to training your character, finding rare herbs and gems, collecting pets and exchanging items. Since the game is quest-based, accepting quests and completing them is crucial as they give you more chances to level up, unlock new Ninjutsu powers and increase your skill stats. While quests are fun, the entire quest system is a bit linear. A quest box pops up to you right. Once you accept it, the game auto pilots your character to the quest location. You then complete a quest, receive goodies and power-ups, go to an NPC, converse and accept another quest – the cycle continues. The game puts less emphasis on independent exploration. It's the overly simple quest system that might disappoint seasoned RPG players who want a more complex and challenging system.
The game follows simple battle mechanics. Combat is turn-based, but in real-time. The point and click combat system requires you to click on an enemy only once to unleash repeated attacks. You can direct some of the deadliest Ninjutsu attacks at your opponents, but for that you need to unlock them by leveling up your character or completing combat-based quests. The unlocked Ninjutsu attacks can then be dragged and dropped into the Ninjutsu panel below and used by clicking on the panel boxes. Combat-based quests teleport you to strange worlds filled with monsters and terrible creatures.
When you embark upon a combat-based quest, remember that there are other players who are tasked the same quest. You and the other player might end-up bashing the same enemies, so you might have a wait a bit for the enemies to re-spawn if they have already been killed by another player. Regular monsters and creatures are easy to kill, as they respawn immediately. But you will find it challenging to kill a mini boss monster as there is only one boss monster and numerous players trying to eliminate it. You will have to wait for a while and look for the right moment to thrust your weapon before the other online player attacks it. I found it hard to kill a boss monster because a player would kill him before I could even launch an attack. I had to wait for the right opportunity and later got a chance to vanquish it. Another problem is the effectiveness of the attack. You might have unlocked many Ninjutsu attacks, but you have to be near the enemy to kill it. There are certain attacks that can be unleashed from a distance, but they are not effective and so you will have to move your character closer to the enemy.
Social elements in Bubble Ninja are brilliantly devised and compensate for the simplistic gameplay and a linear quest system, thereby adding more variety to the game. You can forge guild alliances and team up with other online players using the Party system. The lower right corner of the game interface has social icons that let you join a clan or create a team of players. I found this feature pretty useful as it will help me team up with online friends and make it easier for me to fight against challenging boss monsters and gain EXP to level up quickly. The clan (guild) and party (team) system is easy to understand and follow. You just have to click on the associated icon in the lower right corner of the screen and join an already-created clan. You can also create your own guild and invite a player to join it. Remember that your friends need to accept your requests either way to let you in their team or join yours. The game also has a chat system that allows you to get tips and tricks from fellow gamers. Apart from that I didn't find the chat system of any use.
Bubble Ninja's graphics are neat and at par with rival Korean/Chinese browser-based role-playing games. The background visual are bright and colorful. The Chibi versions of Naruto characters are just too adorable and charming. Characters are straight from the Naruto universe and are modeled into 3D with smooth animations. The game's presentation and layout is very similar to 2D side-scrolling games like Maplestory, but much cluttered. I had a tough time getting used to tiny little texts and windows scattered here and there. Interacting with an NPC also was a bit tedious, as I had to go through lengthy dialogues before accepting quests. Another frustrating aspect of the game is the name that appears above each non-player character or an online player. Fortunately there's an option to turn off character names. You will need to press the "S" key to invoke the system configuration menu and select certain options. You can even make other online players hide from your screen, making the game less cluttered so that it can be easy to focus on only non-playing characters that provide quests.
Bubble Ninja is a decent game, but might not go down well with seasoned RPG players because of its simple old-school RPG gameplay. The interface, in my opinion, should have been less cluttered and neatly placed. The social elements are truly a life-saver, providing some twist to a rather over-simplistic gameplay elements and dull quest system. The game is an ideal Sunday afternoon time-waster for RPG players who are addicted to hack-and-slash RPG with simple gameplay mechanics.
Self Introduction From Author:
|Anurag Ghosh is a social gaming aficionado who enjoys playing Facebook and browser-based games. He loves writing strategy guides, walkthroughs and tips/tricks that help newbie and expert gamers alike. Follow his guides and tips to learn more about your favorite social/browser games.|
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