Mini Ninjas

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Mini Ninjas
Minininjas.jpg
European cover art
Developer(s) IO Interactive
Magic Pockets (Nintendo DS)
Robosoft Technologies (Mac OS X)
Publisher(s) Eidos Interactive
Warner Bros.[1]
Feral Interactive[2] (Mac OS X)
Distributor(s) Square Enix
Valve Corporation
Designer(s) Jeremy Petreman
Henrik Hansen
Composer(s) Peter Svarre
Engine Glacier
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, OnLive, Mac OS X
Release date(s) Windows, Nintendo DS, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360
  • NA September 8, 2009[3]
  • EU September 11, 2009[3]
OS X
WW 20100708July 8, 2010
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

Mini Ninjas is a 2009 action-adventure game developed by IO Interactive and published by Eidos Interactive for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360.[4] A Mac OS X version of the game was released on July 8, 2010, by Feral Interactive.[2] In December 2011, it was announced that the game will be also made available as a browser game for Google Chrome.[5]

A Kinect/Xbox Live Arcade spin-off game Mini Ninjas Adventures followed in 2012. Another Mini Ninjas spin-off game, an endless runner titled Mini Ninjas Mobile, has been released for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets in March 2013.

Gameplay[edit]

Wii gameplay screenshot with Hiro

The game is a linear action-adventure game viewed from a third-person view perspective. It is featuring six playable characters - each with their own unique abilities, weapons and skills that can be switched between at any moment once they have been rescued. Special weapons and equipment to collect and use include caltrops, shuriken, different bombs and fishing rods, and a multifunctional ninja hat, as well as a variety of potions and food items. Magic can be used by the main protagonist Hiro, his spells, including fireball and lighting attacks, camouflage and time manipulation. Only Hiro can possess spirits, such as animals, for a short amount of time. Hiro can use his Ki energy for the Kuji arts, which replenishes from collect enemies' Ki or drinking potions.

The Mini Ninjas have to defeat many enemies in the game. They can be samurai swordsmen, samurai archers, samurai spearmen, samurai clubmen, samurai captains, hatted samurais, and monks. After each defeat, the samurais turn back into animals. Some of the animals have moves which are useful against enemies. For example, brown bears can use their claws, warthogs can use their charge move, and panda bears can stomp the ground with their bottoms. All animals have a keen sense of smell for spotting ingredients and collectables in places that are easily overlooked, and enemies will have a hard time spotting Hiro.

Throughout their journey, they can collect coins and ingredients, such as mushrooms, flowers, and ginseng roots. They can exchange the coins for weapons (bombs, shuriken, makibishi caltrops, etc.) and recipes from Tengu in the world. The ninjas can receive quests and advices from other Tengu. Hiro has a ninja hat which can be used as a shield against arrows or as a boat. There are altars scattered throughout the world which the player can use to save their progress. Fruits found on trees or bushes can be harvested by shaking the bushes or the trunk of trees, which will restore their health. Other foods like sushi does the same thing.

Scattered throughout the world are ancient shrines, which each contains a scroll. Each scroll contains a spell in the Kuji arts. Hidden near each shrine is an anemone which is used to activate the shrines. Only Hiro can active the shrines and use the Kuji Spells.

There are also various ingredients and 100 hidden Jizo statues scattered through the game, that can be collected for special achievements or trophies, which encourages level exploration. The game contains no graphic violence, as defeating an enemy only sets an animal free from an evil spell.[6]

Plot[edit]

Characters[edit]

Playable characters:

  • Hiro is the youngest of all Mini Ninjas, whose talents with Kuji magic are second only to the Evil Warlord. Hiro was found as an infant by the Ninja Master and might become the greatest ninja ever. He is available from the start of the game and is the only player character that can use the various magic spells. His main weapon is a katana (samurai sword) and his special move is a lock-on-attack that stops time and automatically attacks the enemies that have been selected.
  • Futo is the second ninja in the game and is found on the first level. He is the largest of the ninjas and Hiro's best friend. He carries a large wooden hammer and boasts great strength, being the only Mini Ninja who can take on the huge "Clubby" enemies, but is also the slowest one. His special move is to roll into a ball and attack. He is the only ninja who wears a mask which covers his eyes.
  • Suzume is a female ninja, perhaps the most agile and swift ninja in the tribe. She uses a flute, which was left for her by her mysterious mother. Her main attacks consist of high kicks and flute strikes that can stun enemies, while her special attack is playing her flute to mesmerize all nearby enemies. Her flute is useful to play when there is a large group of enemies and against samurai spearmen (before you get other ninjas), which will hurt Hiro when he gets close, but not against samurai archers. She is the first ninja rescued by Hiro on his quest, and is apparently somewhat a love interest for him.
  • Shun is the stealthiest Mini Ninja and is the second ninja the player rescues, after Suzume. Shun is the most tense of all the Mini Ninjas but he still maintains the unique ninja skill of calming himself to utter silence when it requires it. Shun wears camouflage and uses a bow and arrow. He is quick and clever with his bow. He can pick off enemies from a distance. His special attack enables him to tie a powerful, explosive fireworks to the shaft of an arrow. He is the only ninja who speaks, talking to himself in Japanese as he sneaks, leaps, and fires his arrows. He is useful against samurai captains since they will run away if you use close combat.
  • Tora, who believes to be a tiger ("Tora" in Japanese), is by far the most energetic of the Ninjas, furious in combat. He was left by his parents on the steps of the Ninja Village. Tora's favorite weapon is a pair of self-made tiger claws, which he uses to great effect. He can throw himself into a "tiger dash", propelling him forward at a great speeds when large distances need to be covered, pouncing into a spinning claw attack. He has unstable Ki energy which is useful to cover long distances. He is the third ninja the player rescues.
  • Kunoichi is the younger and less mature of the girls. Her weapon is a naginata (a type of Japanese spear), which she uses as a prop for her acrobatic moves. Her special attacks spins her spear above her head, drawing upon the magical energy infused within the weapon, before unleashing a spinning attack on her foes. Her ability is also useful with a large group of enemies because she can move while gathering Ki energy. Some of the other ninjas can only attack enemies in a close range or shoot arrows with a small splash radius. Kunoichi is very quiet, does not reveal much about herself and is a bit of a loner. She looks up to Suzume as an older sister and adores Hiro. She is the last ninja to be rescued.

Other characters:

  • Ninja Master is the elder and trainer of the Mini Ninjas. He finds and trains all the ninjas while they were still very young into professional ninjas. He successfully banished the Evil Samurai Warlord three hundred years before the game, and an era of peace followed. He even hid the scrolls of the Kuji arts. He sent all the ninjas but Hiro and Futo in search for the mystery behind the storms until finally he had to send Hiro and Futo.
  • Tengu are male crow-like humoniods who assist the ninjas. They can be seen throughout the game helping the ninjas in giving information about what has happened or what they should do. Sometimes, Tengu will give Hiro a prize for giving them an item which is usually a flower or mushroom of some kind. The older Tengu reside in Temples and sell Hiro the recipes to potions or weapons such as smoke bombs.
  • Zen is an elderly Tengu who helps Hiro and Futo finish their training before setting them off on their quest. He lives in the dojo on Ninja Mountain.
  • Evil Samurai Warlord (Ashida in the DS version) is the boss of all the samurais and the main antagonist in the game. He was banished three hundred years ago before the start of the game. He can turn animals into samurais or turn them back into animals.

Development and release[edit]

Mini Ninjas at the E3 2009

Mini Ninjas was announced on January 19, 2009, along with the first official trailer.[7] The game's origin lies in the developers' desires to make a game that they could "play with their kids".[8]

Reception[edit]

Mini Ninjas was well received by game critics. As of April 2011, its average review scores according to GameRankings are 80% (Wii), 61.90% (DS), 75.52% (PlayStation 3), 72.56% (Xbox 360) and 75.67% (PC).[9]

GameSpot review rated the game an 7.5 out of 10, saying: "Whether you're big or small, there's a lot to like about these little ninjas and their lengthy journey."[10] IGN gave the PS3 version of the game an 8 out of 10, finding this "family-friendly ninja affair" to be "an extremely pleasant surprise".[11] The Guardian awarded the game 4 out of 5 stars, concluding that the game's "constant charm renders it calming and even relaxing to play" and "any parent watching Mini Ninjas being played will find it hard to resist the temptation to have a go over their own."[12]

Tora was featured among the top ten ninja characters for PlayStation consoles by PLAY in 2011,[13] while Hiro was chosen to illustrate a similar list by Cheat Code Central.[14] In 2012, CraveOnline included Mini Ninjas on their list of five "badass ninja games" as "a quality ninja game that can be enjoyed with the whole family kids", adding that its "best aspect was, without a doubt, how slain enemies burst into cute animals instead of blood clouds. Super adorable."[15]

Legacy[edit]

Mini Ninjas Adventures[edit]

In March 2012, Square Enix, who preside over Eidos Interactive,[16] filed a trademark in Europe for Mini Ninjas: Hiro's Adventure and created a domain "minininjashirosadventure.com."[17] That trademark was announced to be Mini Ninjas Adventures, a spin-off Kinect game for the Xbox Live Arcade exclusively, developed by Sidekick studio and released on June 29, 2012.[18][19]

Mini Ninjas Mobile[edit]

Animated series[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Michael Knight, Mini Ninjas: Prima Official Game Guide, Random House Information Group, 2009.
References
  1. ^ Athab, Majed (2009-06-01). "Square Enix and Eidos dropping Warner Bros. publishing". Joystiq. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  2. ^ a b "Feral Interactive: Mini Ninjas". 
  3. ^ a b "Mini Ninjas begin their adventure on 8th September in North America and 11th September in the UK". 2009-08-13. 
  4. ^ Purchese, Rob (January 19, 2009). "Eidos unveils new Mini Ninjas game". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  5. ^ "Bastion begins Chrome browser gaming push". GameSpot. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Tohyachan (4 October 2009). "Mini Ninjas". GameFAQs. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  7. ^ Robert Purchese (2009-01-19). "Eidos unveils new Mini Ninjas game News - - Page 1". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  8. ^ Robert Purchese (2009-08-13). "IO's Mini Ninjas arrives September News - - Page 1". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  9. ^ "Mini Ninjas". gamerankings.com. 
  10. ^ "Mini Ninjas". GameSpot. 
  11. ^ "Mini Ninjas Review". IGN. 
  12. ^ Steve Boxer. "Game review:". the Guardian. 
  13. ^ "Top ten ninjas on PlayStation". PLAY Magazine. 
  14. ^ Becky Cunningham, Top 10 Ninjas In Video Games, Cheat Code Central, 2011
  15. ^ "5 Badass Ninja Games". CraveOnline. 
  16. ^ "Square Enix retires Eidos publishing label". GameSpot. 2009-07-08. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  17. ^ "Possible new Mini Ninjas game in the works". GameZone. 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  18. ^ SQUARE ENIX > Mini Ninjas Adventures > MINI NINJAS ADVENTURES Announced
  19. ^ "Mini Ninjas Adventures for Xbox 360 (2012) - MobyGames". MobyGames. 

External links[edit]