Endless runner games shot to the height of popularity for mobile platforms right from the get go. They are quick and easy to pick up and play; and if crafted well, can provide hours of entertainment. Now Square-Enix has decided to throw their hat into the endless runner arena with Mini Ninjas. If that name sounds familiar it’s because it is based on the same action adventure Mini Ninjas console game. So does it make the transition to runner well?
Look! What’s that over there… *ninja smoke POOF*
In Mini Ninjas you play as Hiro, a short but proud ninja. You are chasing a dragon who has stole an artifact that allows teleportation between lands. Along the way you fight evil samurai, rescue your friends and pick up a cute pet or two. Not the deepest story ever, but hey, this is an endless runner game. Do you really need a deep story for a game that never stops?
Controls and Gameplay
In endless runner games, your character continues to run until you make a mistake and are knocked out. In Mini Ninjas that means you need to jump over obstacles and traps, slice up evil samurai, free small critters from cages and occasionally run along walls. I mean come on, you’re a ninja, you have to be able to run along walls.
The controls in Mini Ninjas to make this happen are very simple; tap on the left side of the screen to attack, tap on the right side of the screen to jump, and hold down on the right side to wall run. Alternately you can change the settings for an attack button or swap sides for left handers.
That’s not all. You can create potions that give you boosts and powers such as a “Koin” Magnet that attracts “Koins” to you. To create a potion you have to keep an eye out for ingredients as you run. You can also unlock spells that help. For example, the Tornado spell allows you to ride a tornado quickly through a level without getting injured. Spells are powered by magic you gather from every enemy you defeat and the critters you release.
You can also gather “koins” to spend on all sorts of various things such as unlocking spells and potions, as well as costume pieces for Hiro.
Graphics and Sound
Mini Ninjas keeps the fun and colorful cartoon of the original, which keep things consistent for the series.
With the dragon teleporting you to different lands, the soundtrack changes, allowing for more than one theme to play. The music itself has an ancient Japanese flair.
Mini Ninjas sets itself apart in this increasingly crowded genre. Many endless runner games suffer from bland visuals or just the plain overly simplified gameplay of running and jumping. Mini Ninjas keeps things fresh in a few ways. The changing environments keep it visually fresh while the need to attack evil samurai and free the critters and your friends keeps it from being a one-note action game.
I really liked playing Mini Ninjas. Of all the endless runner games I’ve played so far it’s the most fun and engaging. I just need to work on my timing for jumping. I give Mini Ninjas a 4.75 out of 5.
Mini Ninjas is available now on iOS and is coming soon for Android devices.
For more information see the Mini Ninjas web site.