EA Games Ninja Reflex

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EA Games Ninja Reflex
  • EA Games Ninja Reflex
  • EA Games Ninja Reflex
  • EA Games Ninja Reflex

Pros

  • Fun presentation, includes meditation guide

Cons

  • Very repetitive gameplay, not much variety in mini-games

Would you buy this?

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It's safe to assume that a ninja has to be on top of his athletic game, so poking a DS screen might not be the best means of training. Regardless, you can pretend you are a destined warrior of the night; just wipe the Cheeto dust off your fingers first. Ninja Reflex's six mini-games won't keep you busy for longer than a few hours anyway, so the tension and burn is very temporary.

Ninja Yawn

Ninja Reflex promises to heighten your senses and sharpen your response time, but it's really just a collection of ninja-themed mini games. A wizened sensei will talk you through six choices: Catching flies with chopsticks (Hashi), snatching koi from the water, battling oni with a katana, capturing fireflies, throwing shurikens and batting at objects with nunchucks. Each choice yields a set number of challenges (catch only medium koi, touch only certain colored fireflies), and clearing those challenges opens the right to earn a belt. Once you've moved up in rank, new mini-game challenges open up within the six categories, plus the older challenges are reset with higher difficulty levels. The end result is a very short game with a lot of repetition. Ninja Reflex is fun while the novelty lasts, which isn't for long.

Bow To Your Sensei

There's also the issue of Ninja Reflex being marketed as yet another title that will sharpen your reflexes and heighten your senses. True, the more you practice at snatching flies with chopsticks, the better you get...but to what end? In other games where reflexes count, for example Elite Beat Agents, your efforts unlock new songs and levels. In Ninja Reflex, you're merely rehashing old territory if you bother to improve yourself.

The game's presentation is nicely done. Your sensei speaks to you with calm (if not amusingly cliche?) clarity, and the movements of targets and backgrounds are fluid. You are, however, visiting the same locations over and over, so it's easy to get tired of what you see. The controls are sharp for the most part, though the oni sword-fighting, which requires you to block or attack depending on stylus motion, is often non-responsive.

Ninja Reflex is a fun rental. But if you decide to shell out full price for a collection of repetitive mini-games, you need a lesson in spending, my son.

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