Further evidence that anything made “mini” can be cute.
For the second time in the past couple of weeks we are faced with a game that has made its way from the big consoles to iOS devices. And for the second time the game has been transformed during transit into a constant running title. First we had Hell Yeah! which began life on the home consoles as an action packed platformer, and now we have Mini Ninjas that have traded their family friendly action adventure genre for an ever-moving side-scrolling romp.
Unlike SEGA’s recent spin off, Mini Ninjas from Square Enix may have been a tough sell on iOS. So maybe the change of genres is for the best. But one still has to wonder if a memo has been sent round to the various publishers, insisting that they flood the constant running genre. If another publisher releases a popular title re-imagined as a constant runner, I will have to call conspiracy.
Anyway, personal paranoid delusions aside, Mini Ninjas on iOS manages to pack in the usual simple controls with the drive to complete objectives into an entertaining bite size experience.
Moving at a fair pace, the player has to tap the left side of the screen to make their diminutive Ninja jump, or the right side to slash with their sword. It doesn’t take long to get used to, and the controls work really well. Beyond these two simple actions, pretty much everything else is down to timing.
Players begin their runs as the main character Hiro. Along the way they may come across the other characters, Hiro’s friends, and be able to continue the run as them. They each play slightly differently thanks to their special abilities, with one able to destroy rocks in the path, one using a flute to attract coins, and the last being able to hover in the air when they jump. It adds some much needed variety to the game and allows players to change their tactics.
These other characters are also required to complete the objectives offered by the game. While some of the objectives may involve straightforward actions such as running a certain distance or performing a number of wall runs, other objectives will require specific use of characters abilities such as smashing rocks.
Collecting coins during a run will allow the player to purchase different items from the Dojo, such as minor boosts or new costumes. The player will also gather ingredients along the way which can be used to create potions for use in the game.
Visually, the game looks as cute as can be. It is as well polished as you would expect from Square Enix. The cuteness runs through into the slightly forgettable story as well, with the land’s cute animals being turned into evil minions and the player having to retrieve a stolen artefact. It’s family friendly fun.
Although Mini Ninjas on iOS has tighter controls than the recently released Hell Yeah! Pocket Inferno, it doesn’t quite have the same level of attitude, and is quite a lot easier. In the end, it comes down to taste – cute and easy or difficult and edgy. Mini Ninjas is quite a good example of a constant runner, and if constant runners are your mobile genre of choice, the 69p price tag makes the game an attractive prospect.