Well, it’s not every week you get two spanking new endless runner reviews. Er, just every second week. Tuesday I took a look at Sega’s mostly excellent Sonic Dash, and today it’s time for Mini Ninjas from Square Enix.
I admittedly sighed when I learned I’d be tackling yet another runner (must be well into double figures now), but Mini Ninjas is – somehow – hugely endearing.
All the familiar endless runner elements are here, so you’ve got the leveling system, the missions (collect X coins in one run, kill Y enemies in total, buy and use item Z…), the power-ups, the magnet (where would we be without the magnet?), the alternative attire… And so on.
However, while I was all set to give Mini Ninjas 1/5 and scream: “WHAT’S THE POINT?!” – I came away thinking: ‘What a lovely little game.’
That’s possibly because Sonic Dash left a seriously sour taste in my mouth. I might sound incredibly petulant here, but I don’t expect to have to pay extra money to play as Tails or Knuckles. Screw you, Sega. I’m still in a bad mood. But still playing Sonic Dash.
Anyway! We’re here to talk about Mini Ninjas, and now I’m about to list the many things I enjoyed about it.
Firstly, there’s little to no sales pitch when it comes to the in-game currency. Yes, you can pay real money to speed things along, but it’s really not necessary.
Mini Ninjas also boasts four unique environments. Even the top-tier endless runners often seem happy to have, like, one or two zones. Here we have grass, snow, nighttime and a kinda stormy dusk, and there are tons of little things going on in the backgrounds. A lot of thought has gone into the design side of things.
The game also has four characters with different attributes – not just different skins. Suzume attracts junk, Kunoichi can jump like a mother crusher, and big Futo can smash rocks.
Oh, and not forgetting Mini Ninjas’ wall run feature, which is handy for avoiding sets of spikes. Nice.
Am I done yet? No I’m not. I also love how the samurai laugh at you when you fail, the fact that fallen enemies inexplicably turn into little animals that follow you, and the ability to create power-ups with ingredients scattered around the landscape.
Really my only gripe is that Mini Ninjas is yet another endless runner, but it’s definitely up there with the best of ‘em.
- Four areas
- Four characters
- The potion making
- Yeah, it’s another endless runner
Summary: Mini Ninjas enters the crowded endless runner market and instantly stands out as one of the best we’ve seen to date.
Price: 69p @ App Store
Developer: Square Enix
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.