Mini Ninjas Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC | DS
Mini Ninjas box art
System: X360, PS3, Wii, PC, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: IO Interactive 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Eidos Int. 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sep. 8, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Caged animals can also be inhabited by Hiro in order to make all of the other hidden items easier to find. When in control of these animals, every hidden object in the level will be highlighted by a pillar of blue smoke, making them more visible, although some are still incredibly well hidden and difficult to find even with this help.

Mini Ninjas screenshot

You'll notice that I stated that Hiro can inhabit these animals even though you'll have the option to play as any ninja that you've already freed. Unfortunately, this wasn't a mistake on my part but one that rests solely on IO Interactive. While it has been incorporated into the game's storyline that Hiro is the only ninja besides the Ninja Master that can use magic, it winds up making gameplay a lot more cumbersome than it needed to be. Because of this mechanic, any time you want to take advantage of a powerful spell in combat or need animal assistance to find hidden items, you're forced to switch from whichever ninja you're currently using to Hiro. Even though switching between ninjas is relatively simple, you may find yourself quickly growing tired of the constant need to become Hiro and the delay associated with this change to the point where you'll just play through the majority of the title as the main character. This just seemed like a bad decision altogether, since it essentially continually discouraged the use of any of the other characters.

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However, besides this slight issue Mini Ninjas is a fun and enjoyable game. The visual style is fairly cartoony but is perfect for the audience it is targeting and has nice cuteness at every turn. Although you'll spend much of your time in the game swinging weapons at enemies, the violence is very tame, especially considering that most of the enemies you'll face look like enlarged Jawas wearing samurai outfits that once defeated turn into a harmless little animals, similar to the enemies in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It's amazing to me that a company so well known for making games with mature themes and abundant violence made Mini Ninjas, but I suppose a good game is a good game no matter its ESRB rating or a player's preconceptions. If you're looking for a good-spirited hack and slash/exploration game or just something to have a fun time playing with a younger gamer, then be sure to give Mini Ninjas a try.

By Adam Brown
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.7
Graphics
Mini Ninjas has a good, cartoony visual style that is sure to appeal to the younger gamers, but it won't blow anyone away.
3.5
Control
The lack of a double jump can be troublesome, the manual camera is sometimes a problem, and combat will feel clunky with some characters (mostly Futo), but everything else is solid.
3.6
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music fits the game nicely as does the often comedic voice work, although it is a tad on the stereotypical side.
3.8
Play Value
The adventure itself is pretty short (roughly five to seven hours), but if you're into collecting all of the game's hidden and mostly useful items, you'll likely find a few more hours of fun.
3.6
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • First E-rated game by renowned storyline and character-driven developer, IO Interactive, makers of Hitman and Kane & Lynch.
  • Epic adventure appealing to all ages. No killing. When an enemy is defeated it is transformed into its original innocent animal form, restoring balance.
  • Beautiful, distinct, highly appealing, and original art style.
  • A motley crew of sic playable characters: Hiro, Futo, Suzume, Tora, Shun, & Kunoichi.
  • Play as Mini Ninjas with cool ninja weapons, moves, and powerful spells.


  • Screenshots / Images
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