The Mini Ninjas demo is out, and it's here. This is the surprise move for what the Hitman team did next and, yes, it's showing off at least a fragment of their creativity and invention. Your download today will be 778mb. My impressions and the two (possibly one, with new player bugs) new trailers below.
So, a painfully cute 3D adventure from Io Interactive. It's cartoony, silly, and almost too plain and simplistic, yes. Or is it? The first bits are true, but the demo suggests there might be more depth than is immediately apparently. Within minutes you're possessing wild animals for sneak attacks, or hiding in the long grass to simply circumvent enemies, stunning people, casting spells, performing time-freezing power attacks and using your rice-hat as a boat.
Yes, first impressions were that the game was going to be painfully straightforward, but neat little touches keep spilling out: rock-paper-spear combat escalation, things to collect, reasons to explore. It doesn't get overly complex during the demo itself, but you can see where opportunities are going to arise for this to be rather interesting: there's an inventory to be filled with ninja equipment, and a spell-book to be filled with tricks, fireballs and cantrips. While there are three ninjas in the demo itself, there's also some blank slots for dudes who are to appear later. If Io are smart about this we could have a solid and entertaining action game on our hands.
If I was to criticise on this brief sample, I'd say that the different characters weren't sprung into the demo all that gracefully, but I like what I've seen of their implementation. In a Trine/Lost Vikings way, the various ninjas are tools that will be good for different tasks, and that's going to allow some decent puzzle solving over the rather easy baddy-bashing. And it is, so far, remarkably easy. Follow the cues, and you can't help winning. Of course, this is just a tutorial, so there's every reason to expect Mini Ninjas to mature into something better. It's certainly got the charm and technical execution right on. I've got reasonable hopes for this turning out okay, if just, y'know, for kids...
Observe these further glimpse of the game:
EDIT: These should be different videos. Not sure why the same one is displaying. Leaving it live for tech chaps to have a look.
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