Izuna 2: The Unemployed Ninja Returns is a lot like its predecessor -- it's tough, it requires more than a bit of caution, and there are a lot of silly jokes about boobs and being in a game. If you didn't play the first one, that's okay; feel free to pick up the sequel, as all you'll miss out on is a little bit of the backstory and relationships between characters ... none of which is particularly important. The story of Izuna 2 is merely stage-setting. It gives you something to watch between dungeons.
Gallery: Izuna 2
And you get dungeons galore. If you feel like killing spongy tentacular creatures, flame puffs, and walls, you've come to the right place. For the most part, Izuna 2 is traditionally roguelike: random dungeons, the loss of all your hard-earned stuff at death, and a lot of crying over spilled milk. It's tough, and it's an acquired taste. But Izuna 2 has a few features over the first that may make it a bit better experience for those who aren't veteran dungeon crawlers. For instance, when you die, you lose money and items, as normal ... but not your levels. Eventually, you can run through earlier dungeons without anything at all. All just like the original. But there are a few twists.
The big change is pretty big indeed -- if you choose to use it, and you really don't have to. The Tag Team system is the new addition to this round with Izuna, and just as it sounds, it means you get to go into dungeons with a second party member. You don't fight at the same time as you might expect, however; instead, when one party member dies, the other takes over. You can also switch manually, but you can only do that so many times.
It sounds good, doesn't it? An extra chance in a roguelike! And it is, to a point, but there's a catch: your other potential party members don't level along with Izuna. You have to level them on their own. That means extra grinding to keep everyone on an even footing, and in a game like this, that is at times completely unforgiving, that can be a tall order.
But the dungeons are always different, and grinding is fun (if this is your kind of game), so if you want that extra chance, it's not such a bad deal. If you consider yourself far too hardcore for a second party member, however, just don't level anyone but Izuna, and they'll be negligible. Something for everyone!
Izuna 2: The Unemployed Ninja Returns is a solid, fun experience that does its best to stand out among similar games that are suddenly flooding the DS. The Japanese voice acting is intact, and the translated onscreen dialogue is well-written and amusing, if sometimes a little juvenile. Izuna never takes herself seriously, and that adds a lot to the title.
But it's not the best in its genre on the system -- that honor resides, for now, with Shiren the Wanderer, in our humble opinions -- and some might ask if the tag system was really necessary. None of that takes away from the experience of Izuna, however; they're just questions. But the unique quality of the game also makes it harder to judge. It's a little easier than a traditional roguelike, but harder than a regular RPG or easier dungeon crawler. It's just Izuna: fun, occasionally hard like steel, and overall, a solid experience.
Final Verdict: 7.0/10