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(R-L) Hiro, Suzume, and Futo note They're not really particularly "mini."
An Action Adventure-y, Platformer-y game from Eidos, the same company behind the Tomb Raider franchise (and developed by Io Interactive, makers of Hitman). While the cute title and ads set the game up as an Affectionate Parody of the "swords and black suits" genre, the game is actually a straightforward Japanese fantasy.For kids.Three hundred years ago, a dark force rose up and attempted to Take Over the World. Abusing a mystical force known as Kuji Magic, it transformed innocent forest animals into dark soldiers and ravaged the land. The abuse of this force also imbalanced the forces of nature, causing natural disasters. But he was defeated, and his dark magic sealed away forever. Peace reigned.Or... what they thought was forever. Natural disasters of unnatural magnitudes are suddenly returning. And what are these mysterious samurai-like soldiers appearing everywhere? The wise old Ninja Master decides to send out his pupils one by one to investigate, and one by one, they vanish. Soon, he is left with only two ninja: promising but untrained Hiro, and clumsy but strong Futo. They are not truly ready for the world, but given the dire straits, they're the only hope the world has. Luckily, although their friends have been taken hostage, they're unharmed, and can be rescued. And they'll have to be if the balance of nature is to be restored!The game combines action-adventure combat and exploration with platforming, with a large number of weapons, spells, and items to use, as well as six different ninja characters, each with different abilities. And despite what you might think, they're all normal-sized, thank you very much. Well... except for Futo.This game provides examples of:
Animorphism: Hiro can become animals by possessing them with his Spirit Form. They're not all useful, but they can at least all find herbs and Jizo Statues.
Annoying Arrows: Both played straight and averted. Played straight in that enemy arrows aren't very damaging to you, and are easily warded off with your hat or a Flask of Arrow-Shield. Averted in that Shun's arrows are as deadly as their real-life counterparts, unless (of course) fired in melee combat.
These become far more annoying later on, where the red Archer Samurai launch rocket arrows at you, which do more damage and knocks you on your back.
Arrows on Fire: The blue Archer Samurai can do this, and an exploding arrow is Shun's special move. However, Red Archer Samurai also have explosive arrows, and they can become quite annoying, as they can effectively juggle you with hits.
Fighter, Mage, Thief: The first three ninja characters are this: Futo's the Fighter, Hiro's the Mage, and Suzume is the Thief. (Although she doesn't use ranged attacks, she does rely on speed and trickery.)
Kung-Fu Proof Mook: Pike-using Samurai are nearly impossible to melee attack without stunning them first, and go down better to long-range weapons, anyway. Note that they are not TOTALLY Kung fu proof, just not recommended to fight them with a ninja such as Hiro or Tora.
100% Completion: When you finish a level, you're ranked on your completion of it, including herbs collected and money found. But while things like Jizo statues and spells stay collected, herbs and money respawn. Thank goodness, or else there'd be a lot of Inventory Management Puzzle going on.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The Tengu and the Ninja Master speak with a sort of "kung-fu movie" accent, but they occasionally lapse into a more genuine Japanese accent.