Monday, 19 January 2009

Mini Ninjas

You remember the Hitman games, right? 'Murder simulators' and all that? Well guess what the next game from the people behind it is. No ideas? "Mini Ninjas". Seriously!

I kid you not, after the fantastic Hitman: Blood Money and dismal Kane and Lynch, developers IO are taking a break from making games that teach you to slaughter people, and are instead making a game for kids. Mini Ninjas is set around the story of Hiro and Futo, who are tasked with saving the world when all the other ninjas are captured whilst investigating an evil animal army created by the Evil Samurai Warlord (not joking). Talk about last resort.
But believe it or not, there are hints of IOs other series, just like you could choose how to approach targets in Hitman; in Mini Ninjas, you can choose how to approach different puzzles. So should you encounter enemies, you could possess an animal to sneak past using Hiro, make them dance to distract them using Tsusumi's flute, or just fight them with Futo. All in all, there are six playable characters to choose from on the fly depending on situation, but there is a particular emphasis in the game on stealth, and a number of the stages require a good amount of creeping around.
And whilst the premise of the game is intriguing, the winning aspect is the art style. Bearing in mind the game is designed for kids, it features a sort of stumpy cartoony style (stumpy as in they're all quite short). On top of beautiful bright colours (like an anti-Killzone) and the shiny slices that show up on hitting enemies - obviously there is no blood - are very reminiscent of the sort of kiddie-anime you find on CITV.
Mini Ninjas looks fantastically promising, even for big kids, and the open approach to every situation is liberating. The game should be out by the end of the year.


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