Talk about a pleasant surprise. Well apart from that last boss, he was pretty shitty. But yeah, hello y'all. I beat Mini Ninjas yesterday and it's pretty darn lovely.
There's nothing particularly all that endearing about Mini Ninjas' gameplay. It falls under a number of cliches to be perfectly honest. There's basic platforming, basic combat, basic exploration. It doesn't really do anything badly, that's the type of game it is. Solid. But there are some lovely ideas that elevate it above that. Take protagonist Hiro's hat for instance -- it's not just a hat; it's a boat too. It's also a tobaggon. Simple, but charming, and Mini Ninjas is packed with stuff like that. It also does the thing that all kids entertainment should - be juvenile and simple on the surface, yet have many layers. Mini Ninjas is a bit like that.
But what most brings it to life are the graphics. They're beautiful. There are some surprisingly rough textures here and there, and the environments look a little flat, but get above that and what you have are some lovely environments. Most refreshingly, the game is extremely varied too, so while you might have only seen the lush plains from the demo, there's actually a lot more to Mini Ninja's design including a snow-top mountain and some film-noir elements.
In fact, despite being such an overlooked title, when trying to think up bad things about Mini Ninjas I can only rest on the dodgy QTE boss battles which are painfully simple.
It all goes to show really; you can release new IP, make a kiddy looking game and have it completely overlooked -- but it doesn't make it bad. Because honestly Mini Ninjas is rather good and certainly deserving of a trickle more attention.