Instantaneous fun at its very easiest, Mini Ninjas is indicative of what mobile gaming is all about.
This bite-size portion of run and jump fun is simplistic enough to ensure it is accessible to all, whilst having enough depth to incentivise replay.
Mini Ninjas draws from the classic school of mobile gaming. It derives much of its’ mechanical structure from games as old school as SuperMario, and yet still manages to feel relatively fresh. The essential hook is that playing as the Mini Ninja, allows the player to run from left to right, avoiding obstacles, picking up coins and attacking enemies all simultaneously. At its’ core Mini Ninjas is fast and fun.
Whilst played on an iPad, the controls and their integration are totally seamless. A tap of the left side of the screen makes the diminutive martial artist jump, whilst a tap of the other side of the screen engages a swift swipe of his sword to cut down any potential foes. The level of success achieved is all relative to how well the player manages to balance these two core ideals. This core is overlaid by additional characters that serve different functional purposes (a larger character can destroy obstacles) and also a coin collection addition to add a largely superficial upgrade system. All of which feels totally organic from the outset.
The addition of Facebook integration means that there is a level of social connectivity that will promote countless replays through competition. Furthermore, the additions of potions, achievements and costumes (including a rather nifty Agent47 suit) mean that there is plenty to motivate beating a friends’ high score.
The overall presentation of the package is very solid. A quirky artistic style mixed with a consistent, if not uninspired, visual presentation means that Mini Ninjas is easy enough on the eye.
The variety the game does provide is largely superficial. The additions of different characters and costumes bring small injections of vigour to the formula, but for the most part Mini Ninjas is a very repetitive experience if truth be told. Running from let to right is instant hit fun, but after a short period of time it becomes clear that this title is something of a one-trick pony. There is very little on offer here other than the core mechanic, which results in a game that is initially fun, but extremely grinding even after a limited amount of time.
The upgrades, also known as potions, ensure that the mini-ninja can equip certain powers that make survival all the more achievable. For instance a tornado potion can be crafted to enable a short period of invincibility that will boost the players’ score. Interestingly enough the crafting period for such potions takes significant time, and so is assumedly a means of ensuring replay value. The only issue with this is that the whole of the package needs significant time to be accessed, and therefore players’ of less patient tendencies might be thrown off by the required revisiting the game takes to master.
Mini Ninjas is fast, instantaneous fun that has the core of a successful mobile game. A constantly flowing core mechanic that has enough bells and whistles to ensure replay, is a nice hook that may well draw the player back in for countless play occasions. An interesting upgrade system is another key device used by the title to draw the player back in and promote both extended playtime and competition. But it must be said that Mini Ninjas is extremely simplistic in its’ approach and therefore is best left played in smaller doses. Much like the tiny protagonist, Mini Ninjas is a smaller creature than the norm, but at times packs the punch of the very strongest.
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Playstation obsessive and Red Bull fiend. Will play anything and everything. Max Payne champion, adequate FIFA player and hopeless driver. Currently studying Journalism at The University of Salford in the hopes of achieving game-reporting glory. A man can dream.