A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the majority of this game has to do with shooting. But these are Nerf fantasy guns with soft tips. This Wii game comes bundled with an accessory that makes an actual Nerf N-Strike gun into a gun controller by slipping the Wii remote into a special compartment in the gun.
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What's it about?
Why didn't they think of this before? With NERF N-STRIKE, Electronic Arts brings the whole Nerf gun phenomenon to the Wii, complete with a cool plastic gun and a generally enjoyable shooting game. The idea is that you're in a top secret Nerf facility that feels like big spaceship. Here, all manner of robots come at you in many marauding ways. There's a story, too, that plays out in scenes like panels in a comic book. After an N-Strike recruitment bot coaxes you out of bed to enlist in the middle of the night, you're pitted against other young animated Nerf Agents who are out to save the world and show their Nerf chops.
The game comes bundled with a yellow plastic Switch Shot Ex-3 Nerf gun which holds the Wii remote. (It's a real Nerf gun, with three soft darts that can shoot about 30 feet.) You'll have to press the \"A\" button to begin the game itself. But once you're in, it all works by shooting the gun at the screen. You can flick the Ex-3 to reload or press the \"A\" button. As you play through numerous levels, you'll unlock all manner of Nerf weapons, including some that have never before been seen on store shelves. Trying to choose the best weapon to get the highest score in a level is a challenge as well.
Is it any good?
Essentially, the game is a shooting gallery with a story attached to it. Yet it's done well with almost enough variation to keep you involved and enthusiastic. You're not just pitted against another character, whose score you must best. You'll also try to beat high scores to get medals which unlock more powerful blasters. The ante is upped because many of the levels are timed. All this shooting is done in an effort to become the supreme elite agent. The game, which saves automatically, can be played with up to four people on the same machine, but there is no online mode.
While the game makers have created something that has true variety, you kind of wish there were a little more to it. Yes, they've added modes that are somewhat like EA's physics-based game, Boom Blox. But there's just a little too much of the shooting gallery included for the game to feel completely new. You might find an occasional glitch, too. Once, a red robot moved so far to the right, that it was completely out of the camera's (and the gun's) sight. Time ran out and the game was lost. Still, there aren't many family-friendly shooters for kids like Nerf N-Strike. This one's very clever, but not quite ingenious.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the whole Nerf phenomenon and commercialism. Does playing the game make you want to buy more Nerf products? Or, are there enough N-Strike guns in the game to assuage your yearning? Is the Elite Agent story line enough of a story for you? If you could make your own N-Strike story, what would it entail?
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