Wolf-san! EA invite us to join them in the secret ancient world of the Japanese Ninja. Bringing together a handful of mini games, the developers aim to train your senses in the martial art to help you reach a higher power.
The way of the warrior is one of "balance and harmony". The ninja's aim is not destruction, but rather to preserve peace. Your training begins here. Integrate your mind, body and spirit and hone your reflexes to become a mighty warrior. Mastering each of the six different reflex games will help you attain the proper physical and mental agility.
Introduced by your sensei, Ninja Reflex first lets you generate a random ninja name such as "wandering wolf" and "lonely plum", after this your ready to begin your training. The game is split into six ninja mini games which vary slightly in control and depth. Generally the games are very, very simple and require only brief explanation.
First up is "Shuriken", where the ninja must lock-on to targets by aiming and pressing before a quick flick of the wrist to throw a star, hitting as many targets as possible before the time runs out. This game plays pretty well but barely gets difficult, the height of challenge comes from needing to hit a particular colour.
Next is Hashi, aka the chop-stick challenge. Use the Wiimote to quickly snatch a fly and put it in your bowl, gameplay varies from catching an entire swarm of flies to grabbing one sole extra speedy fly.
The Koi game see's you control a floating hand which you need to hover over a pool of fish before quickly grabbing one. The smaller the fish the harder to catch and therefore worth the most points.
Katana is the most in-depth of the six games, holding your Wiimote vertically like a sword your required to copy the on-screen commands to first block on-coming attacks before slashing to take the opponent down. Attacks come in waves and again only have slight variation.
Hotaru is probably the simplest mini game you will ever play, designed to test your reaction times you simply need to press the button as soon as you see one of the glowing fireflies on screen.
The Nunchaku game needs you to move your Wiimote in a figure eight patten to simulate the swinging of nunchucks, your sensei then starts throwing objects at you that you must destroy with another quick flick of the wrist.
Surprise surprise it doesn't take long to play through the six different games, EA have tried to stretch things out offering a handful of different challenges each earning you a "jewel". Jewels don't mean prizes in this game, collect a handful and you'll be ready for a belt test.
Belt tests "prove your mastery and allow you to progress towards more advanced training". Put simply, your sensei challenges you to a series of tests which you then gain an overall score. Score well and you'll be rewarded with a belt upgrade, unlocking some more variations of the existing games and also some new ninja name possibilities.
Ninja Reflex is primarily a solo experience, the multi-player is mostly turn based and sadly doesn't really give the feeling of playing together. Much like every other aspect of the game, it works okay but lacks any depth.
EA have a well produced game in Ninja Reflex, the graphics and sound are good, the style holds well and gives a somewhat authentic "ninja" feeling.
Overall Ninja Reflex is a neat little package, but there is one big problem; the severe lack of depth. Having only 6 micro games to choose from this title is sure to tire quicker than a 105 year old ninja master. This is a great example of what should have been available, at a more realistic price, via the WiiWare service coming later this year, perhaps EA should of waited.