Last Updated on October 8, 2023
We look at why you should have played Mini Ninjas on the Nintendo Wii – or indeed, any of the platforms it was released on.
Despite being an unknown game to many, I have seen a fair few nostalgia-driven gamers reminisce about a cutesome game where you play as adorable ninjas while saving cute animals from being turned into evil Samurai.
For those familiar with this game, give yourselves a gold star, because I am indeed talking about Mini Ninjas. This 2009 title was developed by IO Interactive, responsible for the Hitman series and currently working on Project 007. It launched on platforms including the Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, Android, iOS and PC (it’s currently on Steam). It later received a spin-off game, Mini Ninjas: Adventures and its very own animated series on Amazon Video.
Quite the sweet adventure this little game had!
What is Mini Ninjas?
First and foremost, let’s provide some context. The game’s story starts with a detailed cutscene that explain the Samurai Warlord’s rise to power in Japan once again. The Ninja Master was responsible for adopting and training six ninjas.
However, with four of them missing, it’s up to main protagonist Hiro to start the journey to rid Japan of the wrath of the merciless Samurai Warlord. Some heartwarming cutscenes cover Hiro’s adoption, training as a ninja, and learning the ways of Kuji magic. As you rescue your friends, you get to learn about the history of each one. They all hone unique characteristics that make the team dynamic and well-rounded.
Your default character is Hiro, who starts the game off in the Master’s dojo. He must seek guidance and advice from masters along the way as well as build up his skill level to unlock different bonuses. The game works in stages; however, a single stage can leave a lot to explore.
It’s almost an open-world style game where you’re able to collect hidden materials and items and also go fishing. I do love a quiet moment of fishing in games! That is the reason I often refer to this game as “my Breath of the Wild, before Breath of the Wild“. Material collection is used for food to heal your health, creating potions and unlocking spells at shrines.
Nintendo Wiimote action, with nunchuk!
On the Wii you can simply shake the WiiMote to gather fruits from trees and bushes, which is a fun mechanic, but fairly tiring ten trees and bushes later.
Once you find your buddies, who are either stranded or captured by enemies, you can then switch between them as you play. Each character has their own combat, special abilities and weapons. Hiro’s is his use of his Ninjato sword; Suzume uses the flute to trance enemies (my personal favourite character); Futo destroys with his hammer; Shun unleashes distant attacks with his bow; Tora tears enemies with his claws; Kunoichi is skilful with the naginata.
The ability to switch is a well-crafted feature in this game as it allows you to approach different situations in strategic ways. Hiro’s Kuji magic spells can do many things from possessing nearby animals to causing meteor showers. It really feels OP at times and in the best way possible.
Enemies can vary from Samurai to ghosts, monks and spear men to name a few. There are some bosses I will never forget such as Boss Lumbering Fool, the Samurai Warlord himself and probably the best of the best (in the least serious manner) Boss Windy Pants.
As you can probably tell by the name, yes, the game includes fart jokes. Outdated? Maybe. Still funny in the most ridiculous way? I think so! Enemies turn back into the animals they originally were and drop orbs for XP, special abilities and speed bar recovery.
You’re shuriken to like Mini Ninjas
One thing I remember about this game from when I was a kid was the beautiful, scenic landscapes you travel through with a stunning soundtrack by Peter Svarre which I still blast on my chill vibes playlist today.
There is a lovely balance of comedy, with small details such as Hiro shaking his head in disagreement when you can’t do something to the hilarious Samurai shouts of “Min-ni-ni-ni-ni Ninja!”. I hold this game in such high regard as it was one of those very few games that me alongside some of my family members enjoyed playing.
Playing it again recently did not change my opinion of Mini Ninjas. I still enjoyed it just as much as I did then, if not more. I would highly recommend this game to even the most casual gamers, it’s just that friendly and approachable. I’m eager for this game’s interest to stay alive for years to come and as it’s one that I feel should never be forgotten.
Mini Ninjas: A balance of comedy, action, and beautiful landscapes are counterpointed by a stunning Peter Svarre soundtrack. A great game for friends and family to join in with, I hold this game in very high regard. – bhavdeepksoor
I am a media and pop culture enthusiast and love Nintendo and indie games, particularly Zelda and Stardew Valley. When I’m not gaming you’ll find me writing, creating fanart, and playing music covers of my favourite games!