Mini-game collections for the Wii aren't necessarily a bad thing, but they are when they're ridiculously overpriced. Ninja Reflex features a staggering six mini-games for the extortionate price of £30 (£20 on DS). At £5 per mini-game you'd expect some pretty amazing Ninja action, with plenty of flipping out Ninja-style. You don't get it.
The game is split into single-player and multiplayer modes. When playing alone the game rewards you with belts as you complete mini-games and unlock harder difficulties. In multiplayer, up to four of you can play any of the six games together, although only three actually support simultaneous play, with the other requiring players to take turns.
Only a couple of the games could really be considered good, with the rest falling into the typical "I'm just waving a Wii Remote around" category so common of these collections. Catching flies with chopsticks and placing them in the correct jar is far more fun than it sounds or has any right to be, and makes good use of the Wii Remote. Also good fun is the fish catching game, which sees you grabbing fish from water with your bare hands.
Of the other four games, only the Katana game comes close to being enjoyable, and it's let down by some clunky motion controls that are hit and miss at best. A game which sees you locking onto pop-up enemies and flicking the Remote to throw Shuriken to take them down isn't much fun and makes little use of the Wii Remote, while another game simply asks you to press a button when you see a firefly appear on screen - not exactly a high-concept game. Finally, Nunchaku asks you to trace a pattern before flicking the Wii Remote in order to smash objects that come hurling towards you. On the DS the Wii Remote is simply replaced by the stylus, and the result is a near identical game.
Outside of the lack of mini-games and general lack of quality, the game isn't badly put together. It's remarkably simple to play (although the lack of on-screen help is an oversight considering the casual audience Ninja Reflex is aimed at) and the visuals do their job. The randomly generated Ninja name you are given when you start is also a nice touch, although ultimately meaningless.
It's really hard to understand how anyone thought such a meagre selection of mini-games and a lacking single-player component warranted such a high price tag. Had Ninja Reflex been released on Nintendo's forthcoming Wii Software service for a price equivalent to your average Xbox LIVE Arcade title the lack of content would have been a lot easier to take, but as a full retail release it offers awful value for money.
VideoGamer.com Score4 Score out of 10
- Decently presented
- Not enough mini-games
- Most mini-games are poor