Faulty's scorecard :-1) Essential purchase
2) Recommended purchase3) Recommended purchase during a sale4) Not recommended unless heavily discounted5) Not even recommended for Steam game collectors
It speaks volumes of the quality of Mini Ninja's solid gameplay and cute engaging game world that a grown man such as myself could sit down and play a game from start to finish that is clearly aimed squarely for kids without brushing it aside for more thought provoking, grown-up fair. Mini Ninjas executes its charm offensive right from the opening credits as it plays out like one of the many Saturday morning cartoons I used to love to watch as a kid. What is even more surprising is that Mini Ninjas comes from the same studio that has built an empire out of anti-heroes. With Hitman and the Kane and Lynch series firmly under IO Interactive's belt, two very different franchises featuring characters with dubious lifestyles littered with sex, drugs, profanity and lots of merciless killing, Mini Ninjas ends up playing like a gentle breeze on a hot and muggy Saturday morning/afternoon. The closest the gamer is going to get to any kind of merciless killing in Mini Ninjas is enemies exploding in a colorful array of bubbles to reveal some poor wildlife animal that the games main villain, the evil Samurai Warlord, has transformed into mindless soldiers to do his dark bidding. http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=400188372
Taking on role of Hiro, the youngest of all the mini ninjas and the last mini ninja to be sent out by the villages Ninja Master to discover the truth behind the storms that have suddenly appeared, desecrating the land. With all the Ninja Masters previous students failing to return with any kind of information - the fate of the world is soon bestowed upon the young shoulders of Hiro and his best friend Futo as they set out to discover what is causing the land such grave troubles. It is soon revealed that an evil Samurai Warlord, already once banished from the land, has returned to the world using the ancient art of Kuji magic to reign down ravaging storms and transform its innocent wildlife into mindless warriors. Kuji magic, it is soon discovered, is Hiro's ace in the hole. While the other missing mini ninjas may have mastered the techniques of ninja-hood it's Hiro's ability to master the arts of the Kuji that will be the lands saving grace.http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=400268600
Mini Nijas features some incredibly tight controls and an engaging combat system (that includes various forms of Kuji magic learnt on the fly) as Hiro discovers lost Kuji magic scrolls in the most unlikeliest of places that will enable him and Futo to progress through the games ravaged lands. Along the way Hiro will also be tasked with locating the whereabouts of each missing mini ninja that the Ninja Master sent out initially and who never returned. Once each character is located and freed, they become available for use in game as the player is able to switch between Hiro, Futo and each freed mini ninja. Each mini ninja comes with his own distinct playstyle so one never really gets bored as you switch in and out of characters making use of each ones abilities. http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=399493899
Along the way you will encounter Samurai Bosses sent out by the evil Samurai Warlord himself to thwart your progress. These bosses are not particularly challenging and mostly rely on quick-time events to defeat although in order to initiate these sequences you will first need to uncover each bosses weakness. These boss encounters are fun to engage with book-ending each of Mini Ninjas chapters perfectly. If I have a gripe with the game it's that the games camera occasionally takes on a life of its own as it twists and turns leaving you a bit disorientated in some of the battle sequences that play out. While certainly not game breaking in any way or form it does sometimes get mildly annoying.
Mini Ninjas is a simple game and while it may not provide much in the way of challenge to an older, more experienced crowd, still ends up being a joy to play because the way the game perfectly executes what it sets out to do. If you have any younger kids in your household that are always hankering to play something from your library then I would highly suggest picking up Mini Ninjas for them (and yourself of course). IO Interactive have succeeded in delivering a charming, albeit simple, little gem of a title that should see joy being spread around the room in equal measures for those playing the game or simply watching it.
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