Mini Ninjas is the forthcoming game from Io Interactive, best known for the Hitman series. This is a much more family friendly game, featuring a cute cartoon style full of forest creatures, dumpy Samaria and of course a host of cute Mini Ninjas.
At first, Mini Ninjas looks and feels very reminiscent of Nintendo's cell-shaded Zelda games. You control a group of Ninjas, one a a time with varied abilities, and have to go on a quest to find who is threatening your village, and why the forest creatures are turning into battling Samurai.
Graphically, there are some effects that seem directly taken from Zelda - while you are hacking and slashing your way through enemies, they disappear in a Windwaker-like cloud of smoke, to be replaced by squirrels and other cute animals. It's quite attractive, but the playing field is a bit closed, and sometimes during battles you can lose sight of your character amongst the grass, obstacles and enemies.
Gameplay is fairly simple. While you have a range of weapons and spells at your disposal, most of the time mouse clicking in the general direction of enemies is enough to beat them. For younger gamers, this simplicity will be great, but it doesn't give players much depth. Combat is not as fluid as in other games of this type, and again compared to Zelda it's nowhere near as good. To create this type of game is dangerous, as Nintendo games rarely feel flawed, whereas Mini Ninjas just doesn't come up to scratch.
Mini Ninjas isn't a bad game, but it's not a great one either. If cute ninjas are your thing, you'll no doubt enjoy this, but there are much better questing hack and slash games out there.