This game is a 'prequel'. The main character of this game is Jiro Musashi, father of the protagonist of the older Shinobi games and we can just thank our lucky stars, get it? Stars? Ninja stars? ha! Okay, anyway, we can be thankful that his son Joe did much better games than his father. The 'eclectic hand drawn style' the review mentions is a nice way of saying 'bad'. The graphics could easily be compared to GBA game, and it's just not done well. The cut scenes are very awkwardly timed, it can be really hard to tell just what is going on since things can blend together and sometimes things you should be able to do, like jump down or up through floors, you can't.
As for game play, the game is just hard. You can only throw a limited number of shuriken at a time and they 'recharge' over time, leaving you vulnerable to the multitude of enemies who apparently have sniper scopes on their throwing weapons as well as homing stars. You have the pretense of blocking, but it doesn't give you much time you're actually defending, so when you hit that button you better be SURE you're timing it right, as it takes a second to 'recover' between blocks. This is very frustrating as it takes a time to learn the timing, plus if you have multiple inbound weapons/attacks you might be simply unable to block them all due to game mechanics. The Ninja Magic can leave you near death when you use it, without any shuriken to throw until they recover, and usually results in your death. This game is not for the average gamer, and is a lesson in frustration and aggravation. If you love the series, then you MIGHT want to rent it, but definitely rent it before you buy it or you may very well regret it.
I had high hope for this Shinobi port to the 3DS as the console lakes any triple A action games. But the classic Genesis titles are still by far the best in the entire lifespan of the Shinobi legacy, IMHO.! I would rent first and let you decide. I just didn't get into it.