|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sanzaru||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA / Nunchuck Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 4, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In the Hotaru game you'll have to trap fireflies by tapping them with the stylus as soon as they appear. The quicker you do it, the more points you'll snatch.
Finally, there's the Nunchaku game. Here you'll have to sharpen your multitasking abilities. You'll have to draw a horizontal eight figure (∞) with the stylus repeatedly; when an object flies towards you, you must hit the L or R shoulder button in order to smash it. Right away you have to continue drawing eights. If you lose concentration, you'll be defeated.
It seems easy, but the mini-games get progressively more difficult. Most of the controls work smoothly, but I found some initial difficulties with the Katana and Nunchaku games. Everything comes with practice though, so just know that those two are slightly more challenging than the other ones. As you pass the different challenges, you'll obtain jewels. These jewels represent the road towards the next belt rank. Like in most martial arts, there's an advancement process symbolized with different colored belts. There are eleven belts you'll obtain until you finally reach the third and most important black belt. After completing each Belt Test successfully, new challenges and ninja names (to compose your player name) will be unlocked. The new challenges are variations of the six main mini-games I just described.
If you get tired of sharpening your physical and mental agility by yourself, you can have up to three friends participate. There's a multiplayer mode where you can all take turns and see who the next ninja star is. Also, the Meditation mode is quite unique. Most people initially interested in this title won't find the meditation very appealing. I'd say most spiritual people are not really into video games and ninjas anyway. However, it's a neat feature, as it guides you through a meditation exercise that helps you relax and let go of all the stressful and negative feelings inside of you. The sensei's voice sounded pretty funny to me though, which didn't quite help with concentration. I don't usually do these things, but it's definitely a positive thing to do for people interested in it. There's also a Silent Meditation mode where you can set a timer, and the Sensei will only speak at the end to make sure you didn't fall asleep!
All in all, Ninja Reflex is not (it is or isn't a fun game?) a very fun game that will keep you playing for hours. The mini-games aren't addictive enough. It's more of a daily exercise for those with enough willpower to follow through. With so many games out there, I find it difficult to go back to the same game every day, especially when it's based on training your mental and visual skills. If you're looking to have fun being a ninja, I'm sure the new Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword won't let you down. Ninja Reflex is probably more fun when played on Nintendo Wii, as it allows you to move your arms and do quick motions as if you were a real ninja. If you feel interested in the title, maybe give it a rental first.
CCC Site Director