Ninjas. The mere thought of them is enough to strike fear into a man’s heart. Their arts of stealth and skill are revered all across the world. It is said that they have the ability to kill a man without making a sound…
Now, what would happen if we took some such ninjas, and made them a little bit... smaller
? Mini Ninjas Console(s): Wii
, Nintendo DS
, Xbox360, PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows Release Date:
08/09/09 [NA], 11/09/09 [EU] Publisher:
Eidos Interactive (Warner Bros. [USA]) Developer:
IO Interactive Players:
1 ESRB Rating:
10+ NOTE: This review will focus on the Wii version of the game. Introduction:
Long ago, the Evil Samurai Warlord was banished from this world for good. His castles began to crumble, and the fearful villagers gradually began to get on with their lives once more. The ancient art of Magic was locked away in shrines, and the world returned to normal.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end...
The world has been at peace for hundreds of years. The Samurai Warlord was banished, and that was that – people thought nothing more of it. They went back to their lives and as time passed, they began to forget about what had happened. Then one day something changed. Storms brewed. Floods and earthquakes appeared out of nowhere and shook the world. The Ninja Master could see that something had upset the balance of nature, but he wasn’t sure what. The fact is that animals were being kidnapped, and the Magic that had been sealed away was being used again to turn them into mindless minions. The Evil Samurai Warlord had returned to take over the world. Now, while the Ninja Master didn’t know what was going on, he knew something was wrong. He sent his best ninja to scour the earth and find out what was causing the unbalance. Months passed, and still no reply. He sent another of his best, but the same again happened. He sent another, and another but still nothing. Eventually, he was left with only two – his least skilled ninjas, Hiro and Futo.
The fate of the world rests in their hands – and yours!
While the graphics look very childish, they’re absolutely stunning and really capture Japan’s beauty. From bamboo forests to snow-topped mountains, the graphics are so appealing to gamers of all ages; it’s actually hard to believe that the guys behind “Hitman” developed it!
They’re lurking in the shadows..
The detail is absolutely superb. You can see each of the lanterns, and the light spilling out of them. Even in the darkness, you can see each individual tree and the yellow eyes of the samurai look ominous lurking in the shadows, ready to attack without warning!
This is just another example of the superb detail and quality. Every brick and crack in the castle is clear as day, as is the armour that the samurai are wearing.
However, I do have a complaint about the graphics. While they are very good and appealing, I did find that they were very dark at times. So dark, in fact, that it was actually quite difficult to make out what was going on on-screen. Whether that was just my TV or my eyesight I don’t know, but that’s just my own personal complaint about the graphics – everything else about them was amazing.
The gameplay is really simple, and quite easy to grasp. In the beginning, you control Hiro and Futo, and then as the game progresses you unlock their fellow ninjas by rescuing them from the clutches of the evil samurai! Each character possesses a weapon that’s exclusive to them which makes for some very interesting combat.
Mini Ninjas' controls are very simple. To attack, you press the B button, and you can break blocks by shaking the Wii Remote. You use A to jump and the analog stick to move. However, my favourite feature is the D-Pad shortcuts. Holding the D-Pad in different directions brings up different menus, allowing you to change items or change characters in the blink of an eye.
In the early stages of the game, combat is quite weak in the sense that all you need to do is repeatedly hit them with a regular attack, and dispose of enemies without a problem. It’s only later in the game that it becomes more interesting because the types of enemies you face vary, and certain types are weak to certain characters. It’s even better when you are up against a huge group of different enemies! That’s combat at its very best.
Sadly, I have another criticism here. Changing the camera angle is quite awkward, and requires that you hold the Minus Button, and use the Wii Remote pointer to change the angle. It’s quite fiddly to do – alright when you’re surveying a mountain top, but not in the middle of combat!
Mini Ninjas’ is fairly long, and was very enjoyable to play. You are able to replay levels after you’ve completed them so that you can attempt to fully complete it by obtaining all the coins, freeing all the animals, collecting all the Kuji spells and tracking down the oddly-named Jizo statues. The game's not entirely based around combat, so collecting potion ingredients and coins on the side made the game more interesting and definitely kept me playing for longer!
The game has a decent soundtrack. It’s not overly complicated, but features some beautiful flute melodies and heart-pounding drums. Nothing fancy, but enough to suit my taste as I don’t like complex music when I’m gaming because it puts me off.
The game's simplistic but an absolute joy to play. Unfortunately, while I hate to admit it I do recommend that if you buy it, you consider getting it on Xbox360 or Playstation 3 simply because the game has a better overall feel. Other than that, it’s definitely worth looking at if you’re after something new; although I think its simplicity will somewhat annoy veteran gamers.
Graphics: 8/10 – I thought the detail was stunning and superbly done. I had a few complaints, but nothing major!
Sound: 7/10 – The soundtrack was quite simplistic, but really fitted in with the mood and the scenery.
Gameplay: 8/10 – The storyline was quite different to anything else I’d ever played before but having said that, it was very enjoyable. The controls are very simple to use and the little shortcuts to access items and spells were very useful during combat. I had a few issues with altering the camera, but it wasn’t too bad and worked most of the time.
Longevity: 7/10 – The storyline in itself wasn’t bad for length, but the fact that you could go back and gather up what you’d missed until you’d completed each level 100% definitely gave it some replay value.