Welcome to the J-Universe. Jump Ultimate Stars is perhaps the DS’s version of Super Smash Bros. Instead of Nintendo characters, this game features characters from Weekly Shōnen Jump. Weekly Shōnen Jump is a collection of manga published in Japan, so expect to see some of your favourite Naruto/Bleach/etc. characters. It has not been released anywhere out of Japan and possibly never will be, so if you want this game you’ll have to import it. Jump Ultimate Stars is actually an extended version of a game called Jump Super Stars. Jump Ultimate Stars features more characters and other similar updates. If you decide to import it, be sure to get Jump Ultimate Stars, not Super Stars. Any Otaku would especially enjoy Jump Ultimate Stars, with over 300 characters from 41 different manga series.
Console: Nintendo DS
Release Date: November 23, 2006 (JP)
Unless you can read Japanese, the storyline may be slightly confusing. I personally cannot read Japanese, so I am not aware of the main plot. But judging from what I’ve seen so far, the J-Universe is in danger and it’s up to various Shōnen Jump characters to save the world. In fact, it is a very typical storyline. I’ve seen several games with a “hero fights the villain and saves the world” plot, so it’s not very original at all. To be honest, Jump Ultimate Stars would still be good without this storyline, and it seems slightly unnecessary. If you’re looking to purchase a game with an excellent storyline, this wouldn’t be the best choice.
The Dragon Ball Planet in the storyline.
While still holding a strong resemblance to the Super Smash Bros. series, Jump Ultimate Stars isn’t your average DS game. It is much more complicated, and includes the use of the unique Koma system. Koma means “panel” in Japanese. To be more specific, the panels you would find in manga comics. Koma represent various characters in different-sized panels on a grid. You will come across 3 different types of Koma: help, support and battle. Koma all go into one of the mentioned categories. Following so far?
Making a team.
Depending on the panel, it will play a different part in your deck. I’ll start with help Koma. When building your deck, you will find a one-block panel. Placing it next to other characters will give you a special boost of some sort. Support Koma are usually larger, and they will appear in battle attacking, boosting your power or healing you. Battle Koma are the main ones you will rely on as these will be the characters you play as. Each battle Koma will have a set list of attacks relating to the character itself. You will also need to remember another factor; each Koma comes with a nature: Knowledge, Strength, or Laughter. It works like "Rock, Paper, Scissors" where one of them is stronger than the other. The stronger type will do more damage to the weaker type. The battle system may be confusing but you will soon get used to it.
That didn't go too well...
As you enter the battle zone, the game will become a lot easier to understand. The stages each have a certain background with breaking platforms, moving platforms, normal platforms and other obstacles spread across the arena. The battle area will often be full of action, depending on how many players are currently there. Progressing in the storyline is achieved by completing every challenge set to a certain planet. These are challenges from KOing all enemies to collecting all items on the stage.
Another important part of the gameplay is the controls. The basic controls are very easy to get used to, and once you’ve mastered them you can try getting used to some advanced combos. With each character producing a different series of attacks, you’ll find it interesting to experiment. A is to Jump, and pressing this twice will produce a Double Jump. B is your weaker attack, and Y is your stronger attack. X will be the character’s Special Attack. The Special Attack is very strong, and there will be a limit to using it. These are just the regular controls; there are many other combos out there that you can try.
One thing you may have noticed from the box art is that Jump Ultimate Stars also features WiFi. You may even be pleased to know that friendcodes are not exactly needed here. So, there’s no need to worry about finding people who actually have the game. They have included a random WiFi search option, so there’s almost always someone to play with. Even though it may only be out in Japan, you’d be surprised to see how many people have actually imported it.
Jump Ultimate Stars uses the sprite approach to the game’s visuals. The characters and stages are very well-made, both being vibrant and colourful. With different weapons having different animated effects, the screen can become fairly crowded at times and you will need to keep track of what has happened. Other than that, I think you’ll be very pleased with the graphics in JUS.
See what I meant when I said "crowded"?
Completing the game could take a good 10-15 hours or so, therefore there’s plenty to do. Clearing all planets is a fairly long task; you won’t get bored easily. After this, you can enjoy experimenting with new manga decks and battling people over WiFi. The game will last for a while, although I’ve seen longer. Still, with the addition of WiFi, JUS shouldn’t be collecting dust that easily.
This is one of the few DS games where I would suggest the sound to be on whenever possible. It is not very repetitive and the soundtrack works well with the game giving it a more exciting touch. I really liked the music in Jump Ultimate Stars. This game does not feature voice acting, seeing as it is actually based off manga. You will come across various different sound effects, heard when a character uses their attack. For example, when someone punches or swings a sword.
If you have a Nintendo DS and you’re able to import games, Jump Ultimate Stars is a game you must get. If you’re into gaming/manga, this is the perfect game for you. In fact, JUS is the closest thing we’ll get to Super Smash Bros. for the DS. While the gameplay is fairly confusing at first, you’ll get used to it soon enough. They’ve done a good job with the graphics/sound. However, the storyline was very disappointing. Now we just need to wait for the next game to complete the trilogy.