Little Fighters
Product: Mini Ninjas
Company: Eidos Interactive
Date: 06/08/2009
Avaliable On:

When the world becomes corrupted and the cute little animals become mindless samurai warriors controlled by an ancient evil warlord, a lone ninja master is forced to send his two most untrained and unlikely ninjas after the threat (mostly because all the others seem to have been captured). That's the premise behind Eidos' Mini Ninjas, and from that you get what looks to be a fun action-platformer that will have you casting spells, controlling freed animals, sneaking by bad guys and, of course, slashing through enemies.

You start off the game by being able to play as one of two characters, Hiro and Futo. The first is young and his training isn't complete, while the other is... well, rather large for the role, but the ninja master has no choice but to send them off. But these two won't be your only fighters in the game. As you progress, you will free and unlock other ninjas and be able to switch between them on the fly. As you would expect, each one will have his/her own strengths and weaknesses.

In the demo available, I had to sneak Hiro around a compound full of enemies. I used lines of paper lanterns to tightrope my way to the village's rooftops and hide out of sight until I could perform a magic attack to stun the enemies. Then a few quick moves and they were transformed back into their animal forms. As other enemy samurai approached, another spell allowed me to appear to be one of the freed animals, which of course allowed me to sneak up on the new group of bad guys. These few simple mechanics really seemed to add a lot of stealth capabilities to what could otherwise be seen as a generic action-platformer. I got the impression from my demo that you don't have to sneak around all the time, but heading in swords waving could yield to a tougher gameplay experience.

Mini Ninja's art style also seems appealing as it doesn't go for the ultra-realistic look. Instead, the game takes on a much more stylized approach and goes for a much more cartoon-style of graphics, something that is sure to appeal to audiences of any age.

Mini Ninjas will come out for the PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii and DS this Fall, and yes, the DS version will be a full 3D game, but it will also have some 2D puzzles to solve with the touchscreen.

J.R. Nip aka Chris Meyer

GameVortex PSIllustrated