Jump Superstars

Goku, Luffy, Naruto, and Ichigo. If none of these names ring a bell, then Jump Superstars will probably fly right over your head. To put it simply, it’s a ‘Smash Bros.’ style game, where a large selection of Shonen Jump characters basically smash big chunks out of each other. Sounds good then.

The game is pretty easy to get used to; B punches, Y performs a stronger move, A jumps, X performs a special. It’s an extremely simple system, which works beautifully to an extent, except when combos come in. Unlike most fighting games, hammering a random combination of buttons won’t let off a chain of kicks and punches. Your fighter will pause between attacks, leaving him vulnerable to a smack in the mouth. This system has its ups and downs. It somewhat stops mindless button bashing, but also means that combo strings are very hard to come by. All in all, the basic fighting system works well, and you won’t be worrying about the tiny flaws in the system when you’re busy smashing Yu-Gi-Oh in the face with a big sword. However, the fighting system isn’t restricted to pressing buttons; a large part of the game comes from the Deck located on the bottom screen. The deck is made up of Koma (Manga Panels) and is set up like a page of a Manga. Each koma portrays a character, and pressing them with your finger causes something to happen, be it switching which character you’re using, calling out a character to aid you, or simply give you a power-up. The deck is fully customisable, and you can save your favourites. But if you just can’t be bothered, there’s always a selection of pre-made decks available to use.

Now let’s be honest, you’re not really interested in this game for its battle system or anything else for that matter. You’re interested because it’s a game about your favourite manga characters beating seven shades of brown out of each other. There’s a load of main-stream series’ involved here; Dragonball, Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Yu-Gi-Oh, Shaman King…The list goes on. The chances are that your favourite characters will make an appearance, either as a battle character or otherwise. There’s also a wide range of obscure series’ involved as well, the ones sparking my interest being “Kochi kame”, which features a sort of ‘Homer Simpson’ of the Jump world, and “Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo”, which stars a muscle-bound hero sporting an afro and killer nose/armpit hair.

Well, they’re all here anyway, and can be unlocked through the J-Adventure Mode (that’s a nice way of saying ‘Story’) and can then be integrated into your custom deck. This mode is quite text heavy, and along with the Deck Customization screen, will give the biggest problem if you’re lacking a translation guide. Luckily for us, there are a few well written translations readily available on the internet. The main problem however is that the A.I is a bit pants. Apart from a few J-Adventure matches, the enemy will rarely give you a good challenge.

The graphics consists of clean and crisp sprites, looking far better than any pre-rendered rubbish ever will. They look great, with smooth animations and a cool little effect where characters start to lose their colour when their health is low. Obviously, being based on manga, there’s no voice acting here, and the rest of the sounds, while they do their job, are nothing to shout home about.

The icing on the cake here is the multiplayer mode. If you’ve got a friend who’s imported the game, you can trade decks, or simply pit your decks against each other. This is great fun, and gives you another reason to keep tampering with your decks in an attempt to create the ultimate squad to destroy your friend with. If you don’t know anyone with the game however, fear not, as there’s a single-cart mode as well. While it’s still fun, you’re characters are selected by the computer, and it just doesn’t match up to multi-cart. Overall, this is a fun little Super Smash Bros. style game that should keep you occupied for a while.