I was a kid when the Nerf brand was born and it quickly became an iconic part of every little boy's childhood. We played Nerf football until the street lights came on and it was time to go home.
Since then, there have been all types of Nerf products. Recently, I took a test drive of Nerf N-Strike Elite for the Wii, which is a sequel to the popular EA and Hasbro, family-type, first person shooter series.
The folks at Electronic Arts (via their EA Play label) packed the box with a fully operational Nerf gun (the Switch Shot EX-3), which also doubles as a Wii accessory. Meant for a younger crowd, the game design is very cartoon-ish, but energetic. There are a lot of unlockables and customization options. The action feels like early first-person shooters and operates on rails. Overall, though control may be limited, the gameplay is intuitive and the result is a lot of fun.
The various levels of the game are very futuristic and colorful — very good eye candy for the kids. The weapons one can use are also very creative, some of them are even based on actual purchasable Nerf guns. There is a shooting practice level and the main game has three levels of difficulty. The bad guys are creative and come at you from all types of angles. When they shoot you, the Nerf bullets stick to the screen, almost as if they "got you." There's a cool, red flip-up screen on the gun that allows one to see hidden weaknesses the enemies and secret codes to unlock doors. The red flip-up screen is also a tool used to grab codes throughout the game so one can unlock other features. The game can be played in either single player or partner mode, which is just as much fun, and has some special paths.
One starts the game off by picking one of the four main characters, each one armed with a different blaster, and as the game is on rails, one doesn't have to worry about which direction to travel as they fight B.O.B. and his robot army. It is certainly easier for younger players this way, but players can still turn their heads so as to get a slightly different angle on the action. Additionally, players are able to see their teammates on screen but there is no danger of friendly fire in this sandbox.
Nerf 2: N-Strike Elite is targeted toward the 8-to-12 age range for boys. However, one doesn't have to be in the target demographic to enjoy it. In fact, both my five-year-old and three-year-old daughters enjoyed it. It's one of those games that can be fun for the whole family as it has a feel of simplicity to it — allowing the younger kids to play — but it also can be a fun, first person shooter for older gamers out there — something that won't tax the brain but will still give one their fill of shoot 'em ups for a few minutes.
Nerf 2: N-Strike Elite is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Content Descriptors.