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Ninja Reflex Review

April 03, 2008

By Ted Kritsonis - G4 Canada

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Ninja ReflexThe title of this game almost sounds like one of those kids movies where some 10-year-old secretly dons a ninja outfit and fights crime once that final school bell rings. Not quite, but it would be close if real-life kids wear those ninja outfits at home.

Forgetting about the “Ninja” part of the title for a moment, it’s the “Reflex” part that is really what this game promotes. A series of ninja-themed mini-games that tests your coordination skills and reaction time by throwing shurikens, swinging a katana blade and even using a pair of chopsticks.

It sounds silly at first, but in practice the games are actually pretty good at testing you. Sure, picking off flies in the air with a pair of chopsticks might not seem appealing, nor the other mini-game that has you chasing down fish in a pond. But the games do become a lot of fun, and perhaps even a source of competition among friends.

The way this all works is based on the graduated belt system, where you start off as a rookie white belt and work your way up through the ranks of 10 more belts. You complete a series of mini-games, like the ones I described, and then you’re ready for the big “test” to see if you’re worthy of wearing a new colour.

It’s all a nice process but it’s also way too short. Within a few hours, you could probably breeze through it all and wonder whether or not there’s anything left to do. It’s possible the developers felt the replay value in this was in playing it over and over to improve your scores, except that your true score is never really given to you. Instead, you get a letter grade, as if you were handed a report card at the end of a school semester.

Ninja Reflex: See the Devil?!One example of this is the mini-game where you press the A button once a firefly appears onscreen. The idea behind it is to do it repeatedly to measure your reaction time. But aside from quickly flashing the time, you don’t get an idea of what your average is or where you can improve. The same is true of the katana blade mini-game, at least when the blade does what you want it to.

There is a section in the game for meditation where you can choose to be guided by the sensei or just go through with it in silence while traditional Japanese music plays in the background. The developers even threw in ambient sounds of nature to help authenticate the experience even more.

Ninja Reflex is a nice game from start to finish — but not at its $40 price tag. A seasoned gamer could get through this too early, making it more ideal as a rental rather than a staple in any video game collection.

If EA were to put together a sequel to this, they’d be better off having it as a download from the Wii directly. Or at the very least, the price should’ve been lowered to $20. The idea behind this was good, and it was also fun. But EA needs to add more value to it if they plan to go forward with a sequel.

 

Ninja Reflex: See that fish?!Ninja Reflex
Format: Wii
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Sanzaru Games/Nunchuck Games
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Official Site: http://www.ninjareflex.com

Rating: 7 / 10


 
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About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.