Pockie Ninja II Social is a Facebook role-playing game with turn-based strategy elements infused into it. Developed by Seoul-based Ngames, the social RPG takes Pockie Ninja's popularity to a whole new level. The game combines traditional role-playing elements with turn-based tactics to provide an engaging social gaming experience. It is currently in open-beta and can be played via Facebook.
Character Selection Screenshot
The character selection screen is quite uncomplicated and designed for the casual gaming crowd. Players need to choose a ninja from a list of 6 popular playable characters, such as Sakura Haruno, Temari, Deva Path Pein, Shikamaru Nara and the titular hero Naruto Uzumaki. The cutesy Chibi versions of all Naruto anime characters are just too charming and adorable. Moreover, each character avatar possesses a unique ability, class and attack power, which can be seen by placing the mouse pointer over it. A careful observation of character abilities will help you choose a ninja who possesses the best HP, attack range and movement – key factors that determine the character's efficacy in turn-based battles.
Gameplay is different from the original browser-based MMO. Pockie Ninja II Social builds on the popularity of city-building strategy games in interesting ways. Players are tasked to build a ninja village from scratch, develop it into a thriving economy and recruit plenty of ninja soldiers to use them in tactical battles against enemies. The game does stick to traditional role-playing features, but it is the tactical twist that makes it even more interesting than the original. It has a very helpful tutorial mode that explains everything from building structures and upgrading them to recruiting ninjas and using them in turn-based battles. Even the simplest of the operations are explained in easy-to-understand terms.
Ninja Village Screenshot
Building structures is a key part of village management as they help you earn revenue for buying additional buildings and ninjas. Everything revolves around the ninja village, which is why managing your village is an essential part of the game. The village building mechanics is quite reminiscent of popular Facebook city-building games like CityVille. You will need to choose a building from an in-game marketplace, position it on the empty village and click on the unfinished building a few more times to complete construction. Various buildings, such as Dog House, Meatball Shop and Stone Mine need to be built for collecting revenue whereas a Ninja School has to be built for recruiting ninjas. Additional buildings like Weapon House also help you to earn revenue in the form of XP and RYO, the game's standard currency. Special buildings such as Scroll House allow you to unlock new Ninjutsu skills for a price, which can either be Ryo or gold, the premium currency that requires players to spend real cash. The game adds some cool elements to make your ninja village management more fun and interesting. Certain buildings such as Weapon House, Scroll House and Stone Mine won't give off Ryo, XP, Ninjutsu scrolls and other rare items at regular intervals unless a recruited ninja has been assigned to "work" inside the building. To make an idle ninja work, all you have to do is drag and drop him into the building. I find these aspects quite refreshing and fun because it lets me manage a virtual village without relying on automated tasks.
Managing ninjas is as important as managing your village. Ninjas are crucial for winning team-based battles and so recruiting them is very important. The Ninja school lets you recruit a new ninja in every 12 hours. There are over 80 ninja soldiers to recruit and each ninja can be equipped with different weapons and Ninjutsu skills. There are different types of Ninjas and each ninja is categorized under Red, Blue, Purple and Gold grade. Some rare and powerful ninjas can be acquired by using up premium currency. Like every social game, spending premium currency (i.e. currency that can be bought by paying cash or Facebook credits) is an integral part of it and you might need them in later levels, when battle will be quite challenging and role for Gold grade Ninjas, advanced weapons, equipment and rare Ninjutsu skills will be crucial. While the involvement of real money can be a disappointment, it's not compulsory to spend cash as players can win battles against hard-to-defeat enemies if they utilize red or blue ninjas tactically.
One of the most interesting and important aspects of the game is combat. Pockie Ninja II Social switches to team-based tactical combat from traditional hack and slash battle mechanic. This, in my opinion, is a very good move as there are plenty of casual gamers that prefer tactical battles over mindless clickfest. You can access the tactical battle arena challenges via the quest icons to your right or by accessing "Story" at the bottom of the game screen. The Story mode challenges are all based on the original Naruto anime series. You will need to complete one story to unlock the next story and other battle features.
Tactical battles are exciting and throw up lots of challenges. However, they doe share some similarity with games like Final Fantasy tactics. Battles are turn-based, which means players take turns moving their ninjas within a tiled environment and attacking enemies using basic and advanced skills, weapons and special power-ups. Developers didn't try anything fancy, which is a good move because complicating things in a social game can lead to boredom among casual gamers. The game's aimed at the social gaming crowd and so a simple, yet engaging combat mechanic is a good idea. Turn-based combat follows the rock-paper-scissor method, in which one attack style is stronger than the other. A careful combination of ninjas placed in the battle arena can inflict maximum damage. Choosing the right ninjas is a crucial aspect of the game, and it does throw up plenty of possibilities. You can combine ninjas possessing ranged attacks with those proficient in melee attacks.
The battle arena layout is excellent and provides for easy strategic play. I liked the tiled chessboard-style layout where ninjas are to be dragged and dropped from a list. Once you have positioned your ninjas, you can begin battle. Clicking on a ninja on the arena will display a small panel where you can choose movement and attack style. Moving your ninjas and attacking opponents manually is the most exciting and challenging aspect of the game. It's just like a game of chess. Your "ninja pieces" have limited number of moves and can attack only once. You will need to use them tactically to avoid direct enemy confrontation as well as use power-ups and Ninja attacks carefully to vanquish enemies. If manual combat is not your cup of tea, then you can use the game's nifty Auto combat mode, which is a useful addition to the game. The auto mode decides the moves and attack options. All you need to do is sit back and watch your ninjas do their jobs. To me, Auto Combat mode eases things up, but then it takes away all the strategy fun. The real meat of the game is tactical combat, so the fun lies in manual play and not auto play.
Social Elements Screenshot
Pockie Ninja II's social elements are familiar, but exciting. Not only can you visit your friend's Ninja Village to collect goodies, XP, Ryo and gifts, but also help him in many ways. Different game modes such as Invasion, Support and Rescue lets you interact with your Facebook neighbors. You can go for a friendly invasion to collect goodies or rescue your neighbors from evil monsters and rival ninjas. Special social game modes unlock after leveling up your village. Friendly visits to neighborhood ninja villages also allow you to earn plenty of rewards, including the all important XP points and Ryo, the standard currency. The game graphics are top-notch and character animation pretty smooth and well executed. Everything from the Ninja village to battle arena gives you a feeling that you are watching a Naruto anime movie. The similarity to popular Naruto Manga series is just too good and everything is brilliantly devised. Visually, the most interesting part of the game is the layout of the Ninja Village. Instead of the traditional isometric view which most city-building strategy games adopt, Pockie Ninja II Social implemented a 2D side-scrolling layout. This not only eases village management, but also is a clever approach to make things look different from the rest of the genre. The battle arena layout is designed to suit both advanced and newbie players. Battle arena's overhead perspective helps players position their ninjas and battle against enemies easily. Each ninja warrior's combat style is brilliantly animated. The user-interface has been kept simple and in line with the current generation of social games. In fact, every visual aspect of Pockie Ninja II Social is totally different from the original.
Overall,Pockie Ninja II Social offers a satisfying social gaming experience. Easy village management, challenging tactical battles and some familiar, but excellent social elements will help it deliver good solid gameplay. The open beta launch has offered plenty of opportunities to collect gift packs and freebies but it's just a matter of time when the developers start charging real money to unlock certain aspects of the game. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hope that the involvement of premium currency (social gaming-speak for real cash) is limited to buying rare power-ups, items and Gold grade Ninjas. So far, the gameplay has tested my tactical/management skills quite well without requiring me to spend real cash. All in all, playing Pockie Ninja II Social has been quite a rewarding experience.
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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