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 Engine
Platform(s)
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Optical disc, digital distribution, cloud computing

Mini Ninjas is a 2009 action-adventure video game developed by IO Interactive and published by Eidos Interactive for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360.[5] 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.[6]

A Kinect/Xbox Live Arcade spin-off game Mini Ninjas Adventures followed in 2012.

Another Mini Ninjas spin-off game (an endless runner) has been released for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets in March 2013.

Gameplay[edit]

Wii gameplay screenshot featuring Hiro

The game is an 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.

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.

Plot[edit]

Long ago, after the Evil Samurai Warlord was banished the first time, an era of peace and tranquility descended upon the empire for more than 300 years. The dark castles he had built were abandoned and slowly fell into ruin and the villagers across the countryside no longer lived in fear. As the years went by, the secret of the powerful Kuji magic was hidden away in ancient shrines, and the people of the villages and towns went back to their daily lives.

Then one day, something changed. Terrible storms began to brew over the mountain on the distant horizon. Floods and earthquakes began to appear in the flatlands. At Ninja Mountain, The Ninja Master could see that something was terribly wrong in the world. Mysterious figures were seen hunting and caging animals for unknown reasons. The truth was that the Evil Samurai Warlord had returned, using the forbidden Kuji magic to transform innocent animals into mindless samurai warriors to use to recapture his dark castles and take over the world. But, by using the Kuji magic for evil purposes, the Evil Samurai Warlord was once again upsetting the balance of nature, bring the wrath of the gods down upon the earth in the form of ravaging storms. The larger his armies grew, the worse the storms became.

The Ninja Master knew none of this yet... though he knew that something must be done and made it his unbreakable oath. He sent his best ninja to discover the truth of the storms, but no word returned from the ninja. One by one, he sent another, but again and again... nothing. Until he was left with only two, Hiro and Futo. The Ninja Master was hesitant to send his last two, but he knew the fate of the world would lie in their hands.

Characters[edit]

  • 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 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.
  • 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. 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. His special attack enables him to tie a powerful explosive 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.

Development[edit]

Mini Ninjas booth at 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 has been critically well received. As of April 2011, its average 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]

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]

Sources[edit]

  • Michael Knight, Mini Ninjas: Prima Official Game Guide, Random House Information Group, 2009.
References

External links[edit]