If this generation of smartphone and tablet gaming can be characterised by a single noise, it's the chime of a golden coin being picked up in an endless-runner. So ubiquitous are these objects that to play an endless-runner without them feels almost like an epiphany.
Mini Ninjas has coins. It has power-ups you can buy with the coins, too. It even has simple controls that lower the bar for entry and a cute, recognisable main character. In other words, it has everything you'd expect from an endless-runner in 2013.Little Shinobi
It plays quite smoothly, too. Tapping on the left of the screen makes your cute little ninja leap into the air, and tapping on the right of the screen makes him slash his little ninja sword. Occasionally you'll be asked to wall run as well, which involves jumping and then pressing the screen again.
The levels you sprint through are attractive enough, and the obstacles you need to jump over or cut up are varied enough to keep you guessing but regular enough you know what to do when they appear.
Sometimes you'll free a trapped ninja friend and run as him for a little while. Each of these has his own special power. The big one can smash rocks, and the one with the flute acts as a magnet for gold coins.
Those coins can be spent on new outfits, special boosts, and different potions to help you through the game. You can also brew potions from objects you collect as you run, but you'll have to wait an hour for them.Small Samurai
None of the things you can buy changes the basic core of the gameplay. Spells you can cast when you've killed enough samurai might look different, but the rhythm of the game never really changes from one outing to the next.
There's nothing wrong with Mini Ninjas, but there's nothing particularly interesting about it, either. It's another in a long line of pleasant but ultimately forgettable endless-runners.
If you're in desperate need of some cute, sedate, ancient Japanese-themed sprinting, then you could do a lot worse. If you're sick of the endless chiming of gold coins, and everything that goes along with it, there's nothing here that's going to act as a salve for your wounded ears.