November 15, 2021

A Blast from the Past: Mini Ninjas

A few of the heroes of "Mini Ninjas".
A few of the heroes of "Mini Ninjas".

Microsoft just announced that Mini Ninjas is finally coming to the XBox Backwards Compatibility program, meaning that it can be played on the current (XBox One and XBox Series) consoles.

It has been available on PC for some time now and it is one of my family's favorite games. It somehow strikes just the right blend of action, puzzles, exploration and story.

It's not perfect - there's some odd lowbrow humor (never ask my kids about "Boss Farty Pants") and the combat is somewhat repetitive at times. But those minor quibbles are outweighed by the game's many strengths.

First and foremost, the game has several primary mechanics that work really well. You have:

The overall result is a wonderful sense of variety, mirrored in the environments. Most every situation rewards creative thinking and exploration, without getting overly complex a la the current "open world" fad.

The story is silly, but enjoyable and boisterous. And... like all great games, it includes a fishing mini-game. What more could you want!

For a time, it looked like Microsoft might never bring this game to its Backwards Compatibility program, so I say kudos! And if you've never played it before, give it a shot. It's an overlooked gem.

David Smedberg