I contend that one of Square Enix's finest acquisitions in 2010's take-over of Eidos Interactive was the six miniature trained killers of 2009's action-adventure, Mini Ninjas. Soon they will be an animated series, but for now they're an endless runner, and I've missed them so much.
I didn't play the Kinect-powered Mini Ninjas Adventures last year because of that whole Kinect-powered bit (no room to groove in Faheyland), so today's iOS runner is my first heady hit of the tiny blade-dancers in three years, not counting replays of the original. So fond am I of these little bastards that I singled them out from this week's crop of four big-name endless-running mobile games (Temple Run: Oz and two more to be named later) for a little special attention.
Sticking close to the original storyline, Hiro and friends (who appear in the game via transformative power-ups) are tasked with bringing down the Evil Samurai Warlord's army, because his parents were spot-on when they named him Evil Samurai Warlord. The difference is that instead of 3D action-adventuring, these Mini Ninjas run from left to right, slicing fools so hard they revert to the animals they were before being enchanted by the aforementioned ESW.
This is a smooth and sweet endless runner that doesn't shy away from a challenge. Enemies jump and fly and weave about the screen. Obstacles are relentless. Appearances by the rock-smashing Futo or the flute-playing Suzume are welcome not so much for their utility powers, but more because they're effectively an extra life, reverting to Hiro when hit.
There are coins to collect, useful for unlocking costume pieces, one of which is completely age-inappropriate.
And there's even a crafting system, which sees the player collecting ingredients to concoct power-up potions that last the length of a run.
Mini Ninjas is much deeper and fully imagined than the cheap knockoff I was expecting. It truly does my stabby little friends proud, unlike my video capture software.
Genre: endless runner