Latest Game Reviews

Ninja Reflex Review - Wii

2
Gameplay: 2 stars 2
Graphics: 5 stars 5
Audio: 2 stars 2
Multiplayer: 3 stars 3
Innovation: 2 stars 2
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Introduction

The Wii is more than just a games system in the same way that the DS is more than just a games system. Nintendo’s push towards the casual market has resulted in an influx of numerous brain training/language learning/cooking simulation/fitness titles hitting the systems. So, where does Ninja Reflex fit into the spectrum? Well, I’m sorry to kill your dreams of an ass-kicking ninja adventure, but let’s just say that it’s more about reflexes than ninjas.

Gameplay

You begin by creating a ninja name from a selection of ninja names in the adjective-noun format (defiant swan, cheeky panda etc.). The whole idea is that you’re going to improve your reflexes by training daily on each of the six minigames available. Each of the minigames contain individual challenges which mix things up a bit, from a simple test to see if you can score a number of points, to everything being sped up, or making you use your opposite hand (which is okay if you’re honest and do switch, but there’s got to be a proportion of the population who will just cheat).

Let’s work through each of them one by one. First off is Shuriken, which obviously is all about throwing stars. In this game, wooden ninjas pop up and you have to target them with the Wii pointer, press A and B at the same time, then flick the wrist to throw one. You’ll eventually have to avoid hitting princesses and pick out sets of coloured ninjas. Next we have Hashi, in which you use chopsticks to pinch flies from the air using the A and B buttons, and then sort them into coloured bowls.

Koi involves you picking out fish of different sizes, and thus different point values, from a pond. Then there’s Katana, which gives you a sword and makes you defend attacks and then strike back against foes. Hotaru is all about nabbing fireflies as they blink into existence – it’s basically one of those reaction tests where you wait for the light to blink on and then press a button as quickly as you can. And finally there’s Nunchaku, which gets you swinging an on-screen nunchuk and destroying incoming fruit and barrels.

Your aim is to climb the ninja ladder by attaining different coloured belts, which I’m pretty sure is something stolen from karate and isn’t a common part of ninja folklore. So, anyway, you complete the missions within each genre of minigame, and get a gem as a result. Get gems in all the games, and you can go for a belt challenge, which basically throws three hard games at you in a row, and then ranks how well you go to determine if you get the next belt. Succeed, and you get more ninja names to pick from (yay?) and a new tier of challenges in each game.

There’s a small problem with all of that, though. It’s boring, repetitive, uninspired and sometimes broken.

Yes, sadly, for a game containing ninjas, there are no silent assassinations, bloody decapitations or anything ...

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