Rumiko Takahashi's Inuyasha manga and anime series is among her most popular ever--particularly stateside, thanks to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming. Sorrent has licensed the half-demon and his pals for their first mobile romp. A beat-'em-up with light puzzle elements, the game is very true to the Inuyasha mythos and features conversational interludes with all the major characters from the series. While Inuyasha benefits from a great character-switching component--useful both in battle and for puzzle-solving--its combat system is somewhat unsatisfying, and the game ends much too quickly.
Inuyasha's adventure begins when he is summoned to the aid of his human paramour, Kagome. The latter's archery and, um, relationship skills complement the former's melee prowess and fearsome bloodlust. Kagome is also essential for activating switches outside of Inuyasha's short range.
Whenever the pair defeats one of the game's three sub-bosses, they gain a jewel shard, which adds to their combat abilities. Inuyasha's specials include the mighty wind scar, while Kagome wields status-effect-inducing arrows. The use of a special move drains a character's mana meter to varying degrees.
Although each weapon effect looks tremendous, the actual combat is pretty uninspired. For the most part, we felt as though we were simply trading blows with our enemies and ultimately overpowering them. There's no real way to fight and dodge, as the controls don't allow for such speed or precision.
Inuyasha is best when it forces you to solve puzzles and fight simultaneously. Neither activity is particularly challenging alone, but the two together might get your blood pumping. Just as the game really hits its stride, however, it ends. Shortly after you receive your third special move, you'll move on to two short boss battles. From start to finish, the game took us just over a half hour to complete. As beating the game unlocks Miroku and Sango as playable characters, it's worth going through Inuyasha a second time, if only to enjoy being an overpowered force of superfriends. Still, there's no excuse for this game's extreme brevity. We've seen fighting-game story modes that lasted longer.
It seems that most of the work went into the game's graphical presentation, which is excellent. Level backgrounds look like they were ripped from classic NES side-scrolling beat-'em-ups, and the character-switching animation looks almost as good as it does in team-based fighters, like Marvel vs. Capcom. The game's sound is a bit less robust and is mostly composed of weapon-striking noises, which actually sound pretty good. You're not going to hear Do As Infinity here, though, so put those lighters away.
For the most part, Sorrent designed Inuyasha very well, which is why it's so unfortunate that it wasn't able to sustain this effort over a longer single-player campaign. The game's adherence to its source material is excellent, however, and many fans may want to pick up the game just to have a real Inuyasha adventure on their phones. Average LG VX7000 users, without Sesshoumaru pinup posters, will find this game to be a bad value.