Mini Ninjas Adventures review
Unlike most of the Kinect games released as of late, Mini Ninjas actually began life as a straightforward action game, as it had come out a couple of years back for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It remains a rather entertaining game for all ages, one that has all the prime action of being a ninja, though it replaces bloodshed with…animals. It’s not as corny a replacement as you might think, though, and it makes the game easily recommendable for the young ones.
But now we have Mini Ninjas Adventures, a spin-off of sorts that works exclusively with the Kinect. Our heroic ninja once again returns, along with his band of misfits, as they do battle with an evil warlord who awakens just for the sake of being a nuisance. He’s got various renegade ninjas at his disposal, but thanks to your powerful skills, you stand a chance at pushing them back.
As you might expect, you play the game by doing movements in front of the Kinect device. You’ll jump from side to side by stepping to the left and right, putting you directly in line of sight with enemies or, in some situations, avoiding their incoming strikes. You’ll start out with a sword attack, which you can use for a quick swipe or a strong full-circle swing. But over the course of the game, you’ll pick up new weapons and abilities, including a bow and arrow set and shuriken throwing stars. And just like the original, when you defeat enemies, they turn into harmless creatures. Humanity wins again!
In addition to your techniques for attacking, you can also call upon defensive skills to keep enemies at bay. You can call in your non-playable cohorts to strike enemies from a distance, or use a helpful little field goal kick to knock them back, giving you a little room to regroup and formulate a battle plan.
Like most Kinect games, Mini Ninjas Adventures does tend to get repetitive, and there are times you’ll need to recalibrate depending on where you’re standing by the sensor. But in the outset, this experience isn’t that bad at all. You’ll keep pushing yourself to see what lies around the corner as you go through a series of stages, eventually reaching a showdown with the warlord. There’s hardly any replay value here, but this gives someone the ample opportunity to be a ninja without the need to go through that pesky training. Or, for that matter, donning a unitard.
While Mini Ninjas Adventures doesn’t look as good as the original game that came out a while back, the developers at Side-Kick did a noteworthy job with the game’s backgrounds, making you feel like you’re dwelling in the middle of a fantasy world. The animations are pretty good too, and the outfit designs easily let you know who the good and bad guys are. However, the game could’ve eased up a bit on loading times. Getting to a stage can easily take well over one minute – a huge no-no for a downloadable title that’s right on your hard drive.
The audio is okay, too. The voiceovers that tell the story of the game don’t overdo it, not do they dwell into corny Saturday night kung fu territory. The sound effects and music are also good, though they sound like leftovers from the original game.
There aren’t too many Kinect Arcade games that are worth their asking price, as most of them sail by on the basics of motion without really involving you in an experience. But, outside of Fruit Ninja Kinect, Mini Ninjas Adventures is probably the most fun you’ll have with a blade in your hands. Though the loading is a bit strenuous and the lack of replay value is noticeable, the game still cuts fairly deep. And that's just what the Kinect Arcade market needs...