This game tests your reflexes in the martial arts world in yet another physically demanding Wii game incorporating the impressive motion controls with the remote (make sure your sensor is very well placed for this one for maximum results).
The remote basically controls your action movements as your character movement is always guided (no use of the nunchuk). The game tests your actions down to the millisecond (results pop up on the screen after you complete each action). Players can customize their experience by choosing their own ninja name through random combinations (sensei speaks your first name… yes, with the "-san" at the end… so you don't get too much freedom here).
Physical and mental stamina help as you journey towards high ninja skills through your sensei teacher/guide. Six challenges await warriors willing to test their reflexes. Hashi takes a page from Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid as players catch flies with chopsticks. Nunchaku tests your nunchuck skills (without using the Wii nunchuk) as you deflect air attacks. The katana tests your sword skills set in a bamboo forest. Players also hunt koi (fish), get quicker through a firefly test (hotaru), and complete some nifty throwing star attacks (shuriken). Players might expect bonuses for most targets hit in a row or related incentives in all three of these challenges, but they don’t get them. The throwing star motions in the shuriken mode become very entertaining after you learn the targeting system.
After practicing the skills, players can test to see where they can place in the belt rankings beginning at white. Make sure you’re ready because you risk losing your current progress if you don’t pass. You can even achieve a third degree black belt (11 belt rankings total) at the game's pinnacle. All six tests expand as your belt status rises. Multiplayer modes allow for up to four players through three different difficulty levels. The turn based play in this mode probably helps players from constantly bumping into each other.
There is also a guided meditation session, which actually guides you through techniques to relax and sharpen your reflex time. Take a break? After all the physical activity, a break might be welcome for some players while others might scratch their heads at this rare mode. A nice all ages title (though some parents might have issues with the demon and mediation elements) with a great price. If testing reaction speed and hand-eye coordination can help you in this game, then why not other titles as well? This is also a great introduction game for the Wii system, but the martial arts theme has limits.
This game has the potential for massive expansion with the incorporation of movement through the nunchuk. This theme could’ve gone further as well (how about a bright green bamboo forest reenactment of the amazing House of Flying Daggers film sequences in the katana test?) The lack of deeper bonuses and simplistic play may not be enough for some gamers, but overall a good title that will certainly keep you physically active while developing your gaming reflexes.
Ninja Reflex is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for mild violence. This game can also be found on: Nintendo DS.