European cover art
Magic Pockets (Nintendo DS)
Robosoft Technologies (Mac OS X)
Feral Interactive (Mac OS X)
|Director(s)||Jeremy C. Petreman|
Michael Helmuth Hansen
Søren Bech Jensen
|Release date(s)||Windows, Nintendo DS, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360
WW July 8, 2010
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. A Mac OS X version of the game was released on July 8, 2010, by Feral Interactive. In December 2011, it was announced that the game will be also made available as a browser game for Google Chrome.
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.
The game is a linear action-adventure game viewed from a third-person view perspective. It is featuring six playable Mini Ninja 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 types of hostile samurai in the game, who really are animals placed under an evil spell. Once defeated, the enemies turn back into animals. Some of these 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.
Throughout their journey, the Ninjas 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 the Tengu, crow-like humonoids who also give quests and advices. 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.
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- 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 sword and his special move is a lock-on-attack that stops time and automatically attacks the enemies that have been selected. Hiro also has a ninja hat which can be used as a shield against arrows or as a boat.
- Futo is the second ninja in the game and is found on the first level. He is the largest of the ninjas and is Hiro's best friend. He carries a large wooden hammer and boasts great strength but is also the slowest one. His special move is to roll into a ball and attack.
- Suzume is an agile, swift and stealthy swift female ninja. 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 appears to be his love interest.
- Shun is the stealthiest Mini Ninja and is the second ninja the player rescues. He 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 with which he can pick off enemies from a distance. His special attack enables him to shoot explosive arrows. He is the only ninja who speaks in the game, talking to himself in Japanese.
- Tora, who believes to be a tiger ("tora" in Japanese), is by far the most energetic of the Mini Ninjas, furious in combat. He was left by his parents on the steps of the Ninja Village. Tora's weapon is a pair of self-made tiger claws. He can throw himself into a "tiger dash", propelling him forward at a great speeds and pouncing into a spinning claw attack. He has unstable Ki energy which is useful to cover long distances and is the third ninja the player rescues.
- Kunoichi is the younger and less mature of the girls. Her weapon is a naginata spear, which she uses as a prop for her acrobatic moves. Her special move is a magical spinning attack. Kunoichi is very quiet and does not reveal much about herself. She looks up to Suzume as an older sister and adores Hiro. She is the fourth and last ninja to be rescued.
- Ninja Master is the elder and trainer of the Mini Ninjas. He has successfully banished the Evil Samurai Warlord three hundred years before the game.
- 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 samurai and the main antagonist in the game who has been banished three hundred years ago before the start of the game. He can turn animals into samurai or turn them back into animals.
Development and release
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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).
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." 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". 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."
Tora was featured among the top ten ninja characters for PlayStation consoles by PLAY in 2011, while Hiro was chosen to illustrate a similar list by Cheat Code Central. 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."
Mini Ninjas Adventures
In March 2012, Square Enix, who preside over Eidos Interactive, filed a trademark in Europe for Mini Ninjas: Hiro's Adventure and created a domain "minininjashirosadventure.com." 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.
Mini Ninjas Mobile
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- "Bastion begins Chrome browser gaming push". GameSpot. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
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- "Mini Ninjas Review - IGN". Uk.ps3.ign.com. Retrieved 2015-06-02.
- Steve Boxer. "Game review: | Technology". Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-06-02.
- [dead link]
- "Top 10 Ninjas In Video Games - Cheat Code Central". Cheatcc.com. Retrieved 2015-06-02.
- Erik Norris (2012-03-19). "5 Badass Ninja Games". CraveOnline.com. Retrieved 2015-06-02.
- "Square Enix retires Eidos publishing label". GameSpot. 2009-07-08. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- "Possible new Mini Ninjas game in the works". GameZone. 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- SQUARE ENIX > Mini Ninjas Adventures > MINI NINJAS ADVENTURES Announced
- "Mini Ninjas Adventures for Xbox 360 (2012) - MobyGames". MobyGames.
- Roberts, Katie (2009-09-28). "4Kids signs Mini Ninjas | Latest news from the licensing industry". Licensing.biz. Retrieved 2015-06-02.
- Carmichael, Stephanie (2013-03-06). "Mini Ninjas invades App Store with cartoon to follow". Gamezone.com. Retrieved 2015-06-02.
- Official website (Eidos Interactive)
- Official website (Feral Interactive)
- Official website (cartoon adaptation)
- Mini Ninjas at MobyGames