|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|
Katana, as you might expect, is the obligatory sword-wielding mode. But instead of having you swing your sword at oncoming objects, the katana mode tests your blocking reflexes. You will be confronted with a varying number of oni (goblin warriors), and you'll have to block all of their attacks successfully in order to have the chance to vanquish them. In order to block, you have to follow several on-screen prompts that will have you quickly swinging the Wii-mote right, left or overhead. After you have successfully blocked all of the oni's attacks, then you will be able to eliminate them with a swift upward swing of the Wii-mote. There is not a whole lot of variation in the katana collection of mini-games, and most focus on either survival or vanquishing a certain amount of enemies.
The shuriken set of mini-games entail throwing shuriken with deadly ninja-accuracy at moving targets. You are able to lock on to your target via the B button and then you release your shuriken by swinging your Wii-mote forward. The faster you swing, the faster your shuriken will reach the target. But there aren't only rival ninja targets on the playing field. There are also geishas, which you need to be aware of and avoid hitting. Mini-games in this category mainly focus on speed and precision.
The final mini-game category is the Hashi mode, and out of all of the different mini-game categories, this one has to be my favorite. This game has you wielding a pair of chopsticks and catching flies using the A and B buttons. Since you are a peaceful ninja and you don't want to hurt the poor flies, you must put them in a bowl so that they can be released later. The different games in this category include catching flies of certain colors and catching "super" flies, which are faster and more agile than your average fly.
So as you can see, there is a lot to do in Ninja Reflex. And after all of this hard work honing your ninja reflexes, you could probably use a moment to relax. And luckily, Ninja Reflex can help you with that too! There is a meditation mode that leads you through either guided meditation or timed meditation. This is great for people who don't meditate regularly. It is a calming experience, and it is my opinion that meditation is an excellent habit to get into. And while Ninja Reflex does not feature any deep meditation exercises, it does have basic breathing technique meditation, which is a great start
As far as visuals go, this title is fairly good. Probably the best facet of this game's visuals is the color scheme, which is amazingly vibrant. There are a few texturing issues, but by and large this game looks great. The sound in Ninja Reflex is also pretty good, especially the voice acting for the Sensei character who leads you through the game. Music is not amazing or anything, but it doesn't distract from the gameplay, which is definitely something to look for in a title such as this.
Ninja Reflex is one of an increasing number of games designed to help you in life. While a game like Brain Age will try to make you smarter and a game like Cooking Mama will try to turn you into a chef, Ninja Reflex has a simpler goal: to train your reflexes. Though it may be a simplistic goal, Ninja Reflex is a great game to play in small increments to try to improve your reaction time. And while it does not give you specific ways to improve or certain recommended mini-games, it is nonetheless a blast to play. I would heartily recommend this game especially to families, as the multiplayer mode makes reflex training fun, and the meditation modes are something everyone can participate in. So what are you waiting for? Go hone your ninja reflexes!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer