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Mini Ninjas Review

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Developer: IO Interactive Publisher: Eidos
Release Date: September 8, 2009 Available On: PC, PS3, Wii and Xbox 360

Mini Ninjas is a cute game made by a Western developer that feels like it came out of Japan. A darkness has fallen over the land. Unusual environmental phenomenon cause chaos to the order of life on the planet. Animals are being turned into deadly ninjas. The Evil Samurai Warlord is back and it is your job as the main character to stop him – a ninja named Hiro, a play on the English word hero.

Basically this is a third-person action game intended for a younger audience, but which has enough charm that adults will actually find it pretty interesting. Ultimately you get to play as six different characters with varying strengths and weaknesses. Hiro is an overall quick and fairly nimble guy. The other guys (and girl) include a fat dude with a mallet, another guy that shoots arrows and a chick with a flute, to mention a few.

The combat in Mini Ninjas is simple, yet because of the number of possible attacks when you include the special power-ups, surprisingly entertaining. The square button (at least in the PS3 version) acts as the main attack for all of the characters. You can also jump attack by pressing X followed by square. Triangle stuns enemies, which is affective when you encounter the red ninjas and other more intelligent foes that know how to block. Holding triangle enables your Power Attack, essentially giving you multiple free kills. However, you need to collect red power orbs in order to use the Power Attack.

Hiro can find Scrolls at temples, but he needs a pheromone flower as an offering. The scrolls are special abilities that can be used for defensive purposes, offense or to find other temples. For instance you have the ability to use camouflage or if you want to go on the attack, you can take the form of an animal by possessing them. This is especially useful for large animals like bears. There is also the ability to rain down elemental powers like lightning, a fireball and tornado, among others. Each of the abilities uses magic known as Ki energy.

On top of these basic attacks and your special abilities, the game also gives you a number of weapons at your disposal. You can obtain these either by buying them or destroying vases. Among the weapons that Hiro can use are shurikens, caltrops to slow enemies, and several different bombs. The cherry bomb explodes, causing damage to nearby enemies and structures; the smoke bomb conceals Hiro from enemy sight; the pepper bomb creates a sneeze-inducing cloud that stuns enemies temporarily. When all of your moves are used together it makes for a potent ninja arsenal.

A game from 2009 is probably one of the least relevant reviews that I could manage to write. Yet I still felt the need to write one for Mini Ninjas because it is a genuinely unique game. The art direction in itself is appealing, even when you get past the rather unimpressive graphics engine (this game does after all also run on the Wii). Ultimately, the gameplay wins out with its surprisingly deep number of special abilities, weapons and playable characters. Yes, it gets a bit repetitive after several hours, but you will still want to see the game all the way through. Oh, and did I mention that you can possess a panda to kill enemy ninjas with? A game like that can’t go wrong!

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 7.5
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 7.5
Final: 7.8 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review