Ninja Reflex for Wii is a small budget release by Nunchuck Games and is published by Electronic Arts. It’s labelled as a Ninja Skills trainer/simulator but really is just a collection of minigames. Nunchuck Games proudly display the photos of three martial arts experts on the Ninja Reflex mini-site who claim it is pretty good. We may not know our Xingyi from our Poomsae but we do know our Wii games so let’s see if Ninja Skills Wii gets a lowly white belt or a high ranking black belt in our review of Ninja Reflex. Upon booting the game for the first time you must choose your Ninja title and name from the many combinations possible. They’re all quite funny and if you ever dreamt of being that boy in the Karate Kid movies, you’ll feel right at home here. There are six Ninja skills lessons to master in Ninja Reflex Wii, these are: Shuriken, Koi, Hotaru, Haish, Katana and Nunchaku. Let’s have a look at the Ninja lessons in a little bit more detail:
- Nunchaku: Swing your Wii Remote in a figure of eight to make the onscreen Nun chucks do the same, you task is to smash fruit, boxes and other uninteresting things into submission.
- Katana: Use your Wii controller like a sword, swing to slash, block or dodge oncoming enemies.
- Haish: Catch tiny flies with by holding the Wiimote like a pair of chopsticks and put them in a bowl.
- Hotaru: Stare at the screen and press the A button when you spot a firefly, you have to be quick as they disappear quickly.
- Koi: Follow fish with your pointer on screen and attempt to catch them with your bare hands, the bigger fish are slower and easier to catch and the small fish are quick and you guessed it, difficult to catch.
- Shuriken: Throw Shurikens at moving targets by locking onto one with the B button and flicking the Wii Remote, throw quickly before the targets spin around or disappear.
There are six difficulty levels to each minigame which sadly don’t vary too much, you may have faster targets to hit, more fish to catch or only be asked to spot one colour of firefly when multiple appear, but that’s as varied as it gets we’re afraid. All of the games can be played with up to four players in multiplayer mode but they aren’t really any more fun that way and don’t count towards your Ninja progress unless played in single player mode.
Every time you complete a level you are rewarded with a green jewel, collect five of these and you can take part in a belt challenge. A belt challenge sounds exciting but really is just a random selection of three of the mini games you’ve already played but at a much higher difficulty. If you complete these then you are moved up a rank (belt) and have the option of playing the levels you’ve previously beaten at a higher difficulty to, or carry on with the harder challenges in an attempt to earn more jewels, complete more belt tests and possibly becoming a true black belted Ninja (we wish). With all that training you’ll no doubt get tired, why not chill out in the meditation room and relax a bit; here you can do some meditation with or without an instructor whilst you look at pretty looking screensaver and listen to the serene sounds.
We’re afraid to say Ninja Reflex Wii is not a very good title, the small selection of games aren’t very fun and do not really challenge the player. The motion controls are poor and do not do anything different from minigames found in Mario Party 8, Wario Ware Smooth Moves or Rayman Raving Rabbids. In fact those games are much more fun than Ninja Reflex altogether and if you already own one of them, you have no reason to purchase Ninja Reflex for Wii. As the game does get progressively harder you probably will find that it might take a couple of sessions to complete, but it will not last very long and has no replay value once you attain the highest belt ranking. We really can’t think who this game would appeal too, we can’t see it being fun for kids and it has no depth for the adult audience. Even with the four players you will need a fridge full of beer to enjoy this game. Graphically the game is pretty in places but does not push the Wii hardware beyond Gamecube level. With nice mild tinkly Chinese style tunes and some good voice over acting by the instructor, Ninja Reflex passes the sound test, but not the fun test. Because the game works fine we won’t give this an extremely poor rating but as Ninja Reflex isn’t any fun we can only award it 4 out of 10.