Genre: Arcade Developer: Electronic Arts Publisher: Electronic Arts Classification: TBC Release Date: 1st Apr 2008 Platforms:Wii
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The Good bits
The Bad stuff
Not sure how much your reflexes will improve.
Very, very repetitive.
The motion recognition is poor.
Having done an hour long Tae Bo session one time (well, 45 minutes of it) and watched every martial arts movie on SBS, I like to I think I know a little about martial arts.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but feel apprehensive when confronted with Ninja Reflex on the Wii. It’s safe to say despite my remarkable familiarity with the way of the warrior I’m still more Beverly Hills Ninja than Enter The Dragon.
The back of the box said I could “Master the art of speed to become a Ninja”, which seemed as legitimate as any other Ninja training course I’d seen, so my hopes rose again – with my technical knowledge and this game’s reflex training I could finally become the ultimate warrior.
Upon entering the dojo I met my master – an old balding man with incredible facial hair – who made me choose a Ninja name before he would teach me. “Joabei” was not an option, so I became Perfect Blade and stepped onto the mat – I was ready to attain a higher state of being.
I started on the path to ninja enlightenment with Katana training – but my sword wouldn’t block as I did. My sensei was teaching me a lesson - I had to learn to conform before I could truly break free. Or perhaps my movements weren’t registering properly. I persevered despite the beating I was getting for messing up.
I finally moved exactly as the master wanted – more or less – and so continued to my next lesson. Catching fish for dinner was my challenge, however ninja fishing is different to normal fishing - ninjas get more points for smaller fish.
The master and I sat down to our Koi dinner where my learning continued. Despite discipline being a huge part of a Ninja’s life the sensei kept a filthy home. Flies overran our meal – but it was deliberate - “Man who catch fly with chopsticks accomplish anything.”
Leaving our dishes to attract flies for tomorrow we headed to a nearby swamp for my last lesson for the day. I had to catch fireflies now. What’s with Ninja’s and bugs? This tested my reflexes by having me grab fireflies as soon as they appeared – no aiming or anything.
I woke up late the next day – instead of getting up myself I cop nunchucks in the head. My sensei was furious, and he began pelting fruit at me. I swung the nunchucks and smashed away each object – my reflexes might have been improving after all. The sensei said I was ready to attain the next belt – I could move to the next level or I could try out the Shuriken.
Obviously I chose ninja stars. I readied my shuriken and the sensei set up the training area – I had to aim, lock my target and then throw. The targets appeared – but for some reason I couldn’t lock onto them! I tried, eventually getting a lock and throwing, but half the time the locking didn’t work. The master said I would get better with time, so I went to my belt test.
The belt test assessed my skills in three areas I’d trained in – I had katana, shuriken and Koi catching… My two worst skills and the last one a thinly veiled means for getting us dinner. I bluffed my way through them and he graded me. I actually got a report card - I got a D+. I passed Ninja training the same way I got through school!
That was then – I was a new student. Now I’ve attained quite a few belts and I know my way around a pair of chopsticks. Surely now Sensei will teach me something else. I think I’m ready for the Sai. Maybe I can finally learn how they do those awesome flips Ninja’s do, or I’ll get my hands on some smoke bombs!
Oh, it’s fish catching again. Fly grabbing. The same damn training I’ve done countless times now. It’s the same six mini-games ad infinitum.
For the single hour this game holds your attention, Ninja Reflex is an average experience. The unintuitive response to your movements in some mini-games can be frustrating, and after the first hour the game becomes tedious. If you must learn a martial art, practice your Drunken Fist instead.