A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this action/adventure game is fairly tame, but combat is a big part of the game-play. There is no blood or gore in this game and all defeated enemies return back to their original animal form. Kids will see some minor crude humor, including a flatulent boss character whose gas can harm your character.
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What's it about?
In MINI NINJAS, you play as a pint-sized warrior named Hiro, who vows to stop an evil Samurai Warlord bent on world domination (of course). Trite storyline aside, this video game's fun factor lies in Hiro's assortment of tricks -- magic, stealth, weaponry, and agility -- to defeat this malevolent master and his devoted minions. Hiro's powerful \"Kuji Magic,\" for example, comes in handy while exploring the vast and dangerous areas in feudal Japan. He can possess animals, such as turning into a bear to scare off baddies or a wild boar to ram objects. Defeated enemies, by the way, turn back into animals, as it breaks the evil warlord's spell. Hiro can also transform into five other mini ninjas on demand, including the slow but muscular Futo or the swift, female Suzume. Players will also master hiding in tall grass, balancing on ropes hanging above abysses, sneaking up to unsuspecting soldiers, shimmying across cliff edges, and using items to help get past obstacles (such as Hiro's trusty hat that serves as a mini-boat to traverse waterways).
Is it any good?
Fighting against baddies is fun, be it with mêlée weapons (such as swords and hammers) or ranged ones (Shuriken throwing stars and cherry bombs), but because the game is designed primarily for younger players, combat is on the easy side -- even against the slightly tougher boss characters, including a flatulent fighter whose poison, er, gas, can kill you. A minor shortcoming in this game is the lack of any multiplayer modes. A co-op option, for instance, would be a lot of fun to play alongside a friend or family member on the same television. When it comes to production values, though, Mini Ninjas doesn't disappoint. The third-person adventure resembles a colorful and fluidly-animated digital cartoon, while the soothing Japanese instrumental tracks nicely match the look and theme of this family-friendly brawler. While not flawless, the game is a fun fall pick for tweens and teens.
Note: All versions of Mini Ninjas are the same between the console and PC platforms, except for the Nintendo DS version which was designed specifically for the portable player.
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