Mini Ninjas PlayStation 3
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Released on 11/09/2009
Biggest Danger Smallest Hiro!
Be a Ninja! Play as Hiro and his five friends in their epic quest to defeat the Evil Samurai Warlord.
Prepare yourself for a Ninja adventure like you have never seen before! Join Hiro, the smallest hero on the biggest adventure, as he embarks on an epic and electrifying quest to restore harmony to a world on the brink of chaos. Use your skills and mighty Ninja training to battle a magical army of evil Samurai. Harness the power of your Kuji magic and utilise the special skills of your Mini Ninja friends as you travel through a perilous world to reach the final confrontation with the Evil Samurai Warlord in his Fortress of Doom.
- Master furious Ninja skills
- Collect spells and unleash ancient Kuji Magic
- Possess all animals
- Stop Time
- Control the powers of Nature
- Restore harmony to the world
It's a mini adventure…
An Evil Samurai Warlord has returned from 300 years in the wilderness, doing whatever Evil Samurai Warlords do in their spare time (Mahjjong, probably) and begun using sacred Kuji magic to turn cutesy-wutesy animals into his miniature samurai henchmen. The Ninja Master has despatched his best and bravest to stop him, but they've all disappeared – and now it's up to you, his youngest, but most promising pupil, to save the day.
You are Hiro (not the one from TV's Heroes, sadly)
That, in a nutshell, is the story of Mini Ninjas. You are Hiro (not the one from TV's Heroes, sadly), able to bash bad guys with powerful but simple melee moves, inhabit the body of animals, slow down time for a powerful special move where you target enemies then bounce between them like a ping-pong ball with a sword attached, use your oversized hat as a boat or shield, and wield other powerful magic accrued throughout the game.
Of course, our preview already told you all of that. What it didn't do was tell you where Mini Ninjas succeeds, and where any possible sequel may have room for improvement.
The first issue is variety. Mini Ninjas has a lot of it. Levels are large and ripe for exploration, enemies are plentiful, and a lot of them, barring the standard footsoldiers, have different weaknesses that need to be exploited. In fact, you don't even need to fight a lot of them at all if you don't want to – you can run across rooftops, walk along wires between buildings, possess animals, or pull the L Trigger in high grass to sneak past them instead. This sort of open-ended approach is a good thing, and something developer IO Interactive have previously done very well indeed in the Hitman Games.
The downside is that while non-linear, intelligent gameplay is one option, Mini Ninjas also lets you simply leg it across the level, hacking-and-slashing your way through enemy upon enemy until you reach the end of level boss. We're all for choice in games, but here it's so much more effort to take a stealthy or explorative approach that many players simply won't bother – especially kids, at whom the game's colourful cute graphics are obviously aimed.
The lumbering hammer-carrying Futo is with you from the start, able to curl into a ball and roll into enemies Sonic the Hedgehog style
Along his travels Hiro is joined by other Mini Ninjas who each have their own weapons and special abilities. The lumbering hammer-carrying Futo is with you from the start, able to curl into a ball and roll into enemies Sonic the Hedgehog style, and soon after you find Suzume, who can mesmerise samurai with her flute playing, leaving them open for attack. Later on there's claw-swinging Tora, spear-carrying Kuoichi and Shun, who uses a bow. Discovering their specials is a delight, so we won't spoil them for you here, but sufficed to say that being able to switch between six ninjas on-the-fly is novel, and helps to keep the combat fresh.
Again though, it's another attempt at variety that doesn't entirely work, because most players will stick with the versatile and ably-powered Hiro for the majority of the game. It's one more symptom of Mini Ninjas' one big flaw; it feels like IO had a wealth of great ideas, then backed out of implementing them fully, fearing they'd scare off the kid-gamer crowd.
sizable primary-coloured levels to entertain for a good few hours
Still, for kids, Mini Ninjas is going to be a blast. The visuals have that cute, Nickelodeon quality them that makes them ideal for the younger market, and the lack of blood (defeating enemies turns them back into cuddly animals) for such a combat-focused game means parents needn't worry about the message it send to their little ones. There isn't a co-op mode, sadly, and the complex controls might confuse a few at first, but even so there's enough to see and explore in Mini Ninjas' sizable primary-coloured levels to entertain for a good few hours – with end-of-level boss battles, mixing attack-the-weak-spot strategy with reaction-testing QTEs, helping further add to the variety.
And for grown-ups? Mini Ninjas is an inventive little title that's worth a look, so long as you aren't expecting a Mario-beater, or Nickelodeon's answer to Hitman. Go into this expecting the levels of polish found in Eidos' other recent release Batman: Arkham Asylum and you'll be left wanting. If on the other hand you want a good blend of stealth, hack-n-slash and platforming with more charm than challenge, Mini Ninjas will do nicely.
Review by: Mark 'Hiro Today, Shun Tomorrow' Scott
Version Tested: Xbox 360
"Ninja ninja ninja!"
Mini Ninjas is an odd one. It’s a game that looks like a cartoon, but unlike, say, Kung Fu Panda, it’s not based on a popular animation. On first impressions it feels designed for kids, but it’s created by IO Interactive, the team behind ultra-adult action games Hitman and Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. And while it does indeed feature ninjas, it’s more of an adventure-cum-hack-n-slash than a hardcore stealth-em-up.
All of that in mind, you have to wonder if Mini Ninjas is a case of a Triple-A developer dumbing-down their considerable talents for the pre-teen market, or if what we’re actually going to get here is a game stylised for younger gamers, but with enough quality to entertain grown-ups, too.
A fabled Samurai Warlord has returned to the land, using magic to turn animals into his sword-wielding henchmen... and that's where you come in.
Well, last week we headed to Eidos HQ and got time on the demo that’s since been released on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network – and we saw enough to suggest that Mini Ninjas might just end up being one of those rare titles with a bit of something for everyone.
The story of Mini Ninjas is typical cartoon stuff – a fabled Samurai Warlord has returned to the land, using magic to turn animals into his sword-wielding henchmen. The Ninja Master sends his best disciples to combat the threat, but one by one they all disappear – until the only ones remaining are the titular child prodigies. And that’s where you come in.
Controlling main ninja Hiro, and switching at any time to his sidekicks Futo (a giant ninja who wields a hammer) and Suzume (a tiny, lightning fast girl ninja) you leave home in a bid to succeed where the others failed. Pleasingly, moving your character and combating enemies feels responsive and robust, and it’s not long before you’re exploring the primary-coloured gameworld and learning the basics; sprinting with B, sneaking with the Left Trigger, and bashing cartoon Samurai with X and Y, then collecting the orbs which power each of your ninja’s special techniques.
Swap n chop
Swapping between each character to make use of their abilities is going to be an important aspect of Mini Ninjas’ gameplay. Hiro’s Spirit Form spell for example is going to be a huge help in getting past hordes of enemies by letting you possess any animal you can see wondering the hills – but it won’t do much good when you need to battle one of the big guys, for which you’ll need Futo’s brute strength. Alternatively, you can learn new spells at Kuji shrines and start throwing things like lightning and fire around, or opt to use ninja equipment like throwing stars, which you aim with a target and fire with the R Trigger.
If there’s one thing that might confuse younger gamers it’s how fiddly the menus can feel. Switching your ninjas is done by holding LB which brings up a circular menu, then pushing the analogue stick to highlight the one you want, and letting it go. It isn’t that complicated, truth be told, but it doesn’t exactly make for fast transitions.
It’s clear that IO have put a lot of love into Mini Ninjas.
Items work in much the same way with a menu through RB, but you’ve also got the added complexity of going into your inventory with the Back button to select the items which will appear in the RB menu – and then going back into play, holding RB and selecting. Again, not hugely challenging, but it still breaks the flow of the game a little.
And yet Mini Ninjas doesn’t take long to pull you back into its world, thanks to an enormous degree of cutesy charm. Whether it’s the samurai enemies shouting “Ninja ninja ninja!” in squeaky voices, or the way that foes turn back into animals when you defeat them – small ones into bunnies, larger ones into bears and pandas – or just the way your ninja can take out their comedy oversized hat to use as a boat, it’s clear that IO have put a lot of love into Mini Ninjas.
What we have here then is a game that takes the idea behind the (surprisingly good) Kung Fu Panda game, complete with platformy bits, tons of combat and even epic-feeling QTE-style boss battles, but with all-new characters and a look and feel it’s hard not to smile at. It’s clear that this isn’t just a game for kids – but the big question is, will Hitman fans take to IO’s cuddly new project? With release a mere few weeks away, we won’t have to wait long to find out.
Preview by: Mark 'Panda Power!' Scott
Version Tested: Xbox 360
Mini Ninjas Review (14/09/2009)
It's a mini adventure…
An Evil Samurai Warlord has returned from 300 years in the wilderness, doing whatever Evil Samur…Mini Ninjas Preview (21/08/2009)
"Ninja ninja ninja!"
Mini Ninjas is an odd one. It’s a game that looks like a cartoon, but unlike, say, Kung Fu Pa…Mini Ninjas User ReviewsTop review3 years agoMini Ninjasgood game3 years agoMini NinjasThis game is some reason fairly addictive. It really good and plays really well. The cartoon style presentation works well, and the simple story is refreshing. This game can be loved by children, your partner and seasoned gamers alike. This is 5 out of 5.1 year agoCUTE AND FUNThis a a really good game and not as simplistic as you may think. I loved it. a definate must try!1 year agoIt's nice.Very good game!3 years agoMini NinjasOne of the reasons I brought this game was because of its cell-shad visual presentation which I find appealing. The game-play is really good however it doesn’t have a high replay value. The only downside is it doesn’t have co-op mode.Configuring your price alert
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