Ninja Reflex Wii
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
Ninja Reflex is a compilation of ninja themed mini games that are designed to test your reflexes. The mini-games have you doing things such as catching flies with chopsticks, grabbing swimming fish and slicing watermelons with nunchuks. For the most part the games on offer are OK but the problem is not with the quality of the mini-games but the quantity. With just six mini-games on offer there really isn’t a whole lot to the Wii version of Ninja Reflex and that’s a real shame because there’s definitely potential here.
You’ll begin the game by choosing one of the four profile save slots and choosing a suitable name for yourself such as ‘Delightful Bamboo or ‘Brave Maple’ before being given a speech, which isn’t subtitled, from your Sensei. You’re then welcomed, in text, to Ninja Reflex and told that there are six Reflex Games that will help hone your skills. For each game there are a variety of challenges. Complete the challenges available for a mini-game and you’ll earn a jewel. Earn enough jewels and you will be able to take a belt test. Completing a belt test will unlock more challenges for each of the mini-games. Should you fail a belt test, you’ll have to go back and re-earn the three jewels before you can take the test again. There are quite a few belts to obtain and as well as unlocking additional challenges with each belt you earn, you will have slightly more difficult versions of those challenges you’ve already completed.
The mini-games on offer in Ninja Reflex are: Shuriken, Koi, Hotaru, Hashi, Nunchaku and Katana. In Shuriken you’ll throw the shuriken at a range of targets. You simply touch the target to lock on and then make a throwing motion with the remote to throw. Koi requires you to catch fish with your hands. There are three sizes of fish with more points being given for the smaller fish. You’ll move the hand icon with the remote and press the A and B buttons simultaneously to grab a fish. You can only grab a fish when it comes up for air. Hashi is a game that requires you to catch flies with chopsticks. You’ll simultaneously press the A and B buttons to grab the flies with your chopsticks and once caught, you’ll have to drag the flies to the appropriate bowl for safe keeping. Katana is a game where you have to block strikes (by moving the Wii remote quickly from a vertical to a horizontal) from an Oni (ghost demon) and when a successful block has been performed, you’ll have the opportunity to strike back by doing a horizontal movement with the remote. Hotaru challenges you with capturing fireflies. All that’s required here is that you press the A button when a firefly appears. Finally Nunchaku requires you to smash or hit objects with your nunchaku (nunchuks) by drawing a horizontal figure of eight with your Wii remote at the appropriate time.
The quality of the mini-games is OK and it has to be said that for the most part, good use of the Wii remote has been made. Some of the mini-games are actually quite enjoyable in short bursts. The problem is that there aren’t enough of the mini-games to prevent Ninja Reflex from becoming repetitive very quickly. Unlocking extra challenges for each mini-game is all well and good but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re playing the same mini-games over and over again. Up to four players can take part in offline multiplayer games but there is no support for online play which is a little disappointing. Having the chance to beat other players’ reaction times from around the world would have added something extra to the experience.
There can be no denying that the general presentation of Ninja Reflex is rather impressive. The graphics are nicely detailed and the ninja theme has been captured rather well in terms of the visual style of menus and mini-game graphics. Deaf gamers get a bit of a raw deal however because there is quite a bit of speech here that isn’t subtitled. Thankfully none of the speech that isn’t subtitled is crucial to the experience but it’s still very disappointing. That said however, the in-game meditation feature is rendered pretty much useless by not being subtitled. Your reaction time is shown visually which is important as you’ll need to beat a specific reaction time for some challenges. Mini-game instructions and all essential information are shown in text. The game manual gives rather brief instructions on how to play the mini-games and informs you what needs to be done in order to progress in the game.
Ninja Reflex for the Wii is, on the whole, quite enjoyable but there’s not a lot here when all is said and done. Priced at just under £30, Ninja Reflex is certainly not as good value for money as it could have been. You are only getting six mini-games after all and it’s fair to say that there is not a great deal of replay value here. The real disappointment however, is that it’s easy to see how Ninja Reflex could have been so much better. Many more mini-games were needed and better multiplayer options should have also been included. Ninja Reflex is certainly not a bad game but it’s too light on content and there’s not enough here to keep you coming back for more for long.