Last year EA and Hasbro teamed up to release a Nerf blaster and light-gun style shooter for the Wii. The game was mostly a collection of shooting gallery type minigames, but it came packaged together with a Nerf blaster that doubled as a Wii blaster, meaning you could use it for other titles as well. This time around, EA Salt Lake has developed more of a light-gun adventure for kids, that’s a lot heavier on the action and has the kind of story that only a pre-teen could appreciate–given that’s the target audience though, that’s not such a bad thing.
Developer: EA Salt Lake
Oct. 27, 2009
I won’t ask why the evil enemy’s robots are capable of being shot down by foam darts and soft balls, but we’ll just use video game logic here to say that it works and you best not question why. Regardless of what they are using for ammo, the four friends team up to take down this evil-doer, and they pick up loads of blasters along the way, blasters that they can customize to their liking. You purchase upgrades with items you find scattered around levels and hiding inside your enemies, just waiting to burst out when you blow them up. This adds to the replay value significantly–light gun games like House of the Dead and Time Crisis suffer on occasion from not having enough incentive to replay them, but when you’re given a reason (like this spring’s House of the Dead: Overkill, with its achievement and upgrade systems) then you’ve got yourself a keeper, as playing through it again isn’t painful.
To add to that, you can also play with another person, even if they don’t have their own Nerf blaster. They can just use the Wii Remote (or another peripheral like the Wii Zapper or Nyko Perfect Shot) in order to play along–some areas are only available to you if you are playing co-op, so there’s good reason for Little Timmy to invite Little Billy over to blast some robots.
Outside of blasting everything in sight, the big hook for N-Strike Elite is the Red Reveal–there’s an attachment for the Nerf blaster that you look through at certain parts of the game, in order to reveal secret codes that you can use in various places. The places where you need Red Reveal could not be anymore obvious if they had signs with fingers pointing surrounding them, but it’s hard to read the text without the Red Reveal, and it is the sort of thing that your little pre-teen adventurer will eat up due to it’s undercover, secret agent mystique.
The one knock the game has is that it’s very non-violent, but that may also be a selling point to many parents who want their kids to be able to enjoy video games, but don’t exactly want them sawing off aliens heads with a chainsaw bayonet just yet. The kids don’t die; the game just sort of stops and you get the chance to restart from your last checkpoint. Foam darts and balls will also not be mistaken for bullets anytime soon; it’s not like they go inside the robots, they just sort of bounce off, but then again, that would happen if you turned and blasted your co-op buddy with the fully functional Nerf blaster you’re playing with anyways, so it makes sense.
The Nerf blaster is a better product than the Wii Zapper, though I would put it a step below the Nyko Perfect Shot; the grip on the handle is not long enough for comfort if you’ve got big hands, but otherwise it’s well-made and works perfectly for its intended Wii related purposes. Considering you’re getting it with a game without too much of a price hike, it’s not a bad accessory to have around for other games.
Blast Factor: Nerf N-Strike Elite made a great design change from the original, going for more of a light-gun adventure than an arena-based series of challenges. It makes for gameplay that immerses the player into the experience more, and with the loads of customization options and many blasters to collect (and don’t forget co-op) there are plenty of reasons to come back to this title. It’s $60, but it comes packaged with a peripheral that works better than most similar products on the market alongside a quality game.
Nerf N-Strike Elite is available exclusively on the Wii for $59.99. A copy of this game was given to us by the publisher for reviewing purposes.