Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Nice Package! (Ninja Jajamaru-kun: Sakura-hime to Karyu no Himitsu, 3DS)

Although I've wanted a copy of Ninja Jajamaru-kun: Sakura-hime to Karyu no Himitsu since it was first announced for release, I wasn't willing to pay full price for one.

So, I bided my time. That patience paid off last fall--three-and-a-half years after it first hit the streets of Japan--when I came across an unopened copy of this 3DS title being sold for just $20.

Was it worth the wait--and my 20 bucks? I'd say so, though I've only played Sakura-hime to Karyu no Himitsu for a couple of hours thus far.

Thankfully, that was enough for me to see that this latest Ninja Jajamaru-kun sequel (you can read about earlier ones via is a real treat for the eyes, at the very least.

It's fun, too, don't get me wrong. Sakura-hime to Karyu no Himitsu's platforming action isn't going to win awards for its uniqueness, but it's crisp and solid and enjoyable enough. That's more than I was expecting from it, to be honest, so I'm happy with my investment.

All that said, I wouldn't have minded if Jaleco's designers had made the protagonist and enemy sprites larger. In their current state, they're a bit too small for my liking. Still, they're well drawn and nicely animated, so it's hard to complain too loudly.

With that out of the way, are you up for a little history lesson? The first tidbit I'd like to pass along is that Sakura-hime to Karyu no Himitsu actually began life (in 2006) as a DS game. And not only that, but it had a different subtitle at that point in time: Pen wa Ken Yori mo Tsuyoshi de Gozaru, which according to the folks at Hardcore Gaming 101 translates to something like The Pen is Greater than the Sword.

For whatever reason, Ninja Jajamaru-kun: Pen wa Ken Yori mo Tsuyoshi de Gozaru never saw the light of day. However, it's pretty clear that game lives on in Sakura-hime to Karyu no Himitsu, which hit Japanese store shelves (as well as that region's 3DS eShop) in 2013. Early screenshots of the DS title show off characters and environments that are nearly identical to comparable elements found in the 3DS release.

Also, you may have noticed that the cover art and cartridge label above sport "Hamster" logos. That's because although Jaleco developed Sakura-hime to Karyu no Himitsu and seemingly intended to publish it as well, those plans changed when the company was bought out by Game Yarou.

At some point along the way, Hamster Corporation stepped in and brought the game to market. I wish I could tell you when or why or how this intervention came about, but I can't.

As for Ninja Jajamaru-kun: Sakura-hime to Karyu no Himitsu's packaging, I, for one, think it's fairly nice. I especially like the colorful cover art. Curiously, copies don't come with a full-fledged instruction manual; instead, they come with a single sheet of paper that explains the game's controls and that's it.

Oh, well, I guess it's better than nothing--which is what you get when you buy a boxed 3DS game these days.

See also: previous 'Nice Package!' posts about KiKi KaiKai and Son Son II for the PC Engine

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