Without a doubt, the main attraction of this is that it comes bundled with a special NERF pistol. Like some kind of Transformer that never was, the pistol works as a proper soft dart gun which you can use to terrorize friends. But you can also click out the barrel and insert a Wii remote to make a very neat lightgun. Proper job, as we say down here in the Wild South West.
In the game, every NERF gun known to man can be unlocked and loaded, but the gameplay is rather uninspiring. There’s nothing terminally wrong with N-Strike, it’s just that it’s about as exciting as a cheese pizza. Although to be fair, we weren’t expecting Ghost Squad meets House of the Dead via Time Crisis, so there’s no disappointment on our part. It is, after all, from the Hasbro stable of EA games.
For the main Mission mode there are several different hubs to work through, each containing several themed challenges to crack. There’s some nonsense of a story that concerns recruiting kids to some ‘NERF centre of excellence’, but this only serves to paper over the core mechanic of beating high scores to progress to the next hub and increasingly tougher challenges.
Your sharp- (or rather soft-) shooting skills will be tested in a variety of ways, including sniping missions, on-rails sections, ‘blast everything’ bits and also something akin to a lightgun version of Boom Blox, which is the best of the bunch. Enemies are only of the robot variety, but they too can fire those lethal soft darts and reduce your shield to ‘mission failed’ point.
As mentioned, there’s nothing fundamentally broken with the game. It looks nice enough, there’s some variety in the mission types, the physics are decent (the darts fly impressively) and those Boom Blox bits are especially neat. Even the dialogue has its moments, like when a kid says, “This is as much fun as pushing chickens in a ditch”. Eh? There’s also multiplayer support, where two to four NERFers can go head-to-head for high scores in any of the missions.
But the violence is all so sanitized and there’s a distinct lack of danger. It’s as if this is a training camp to hone the shootin’ skills of our innocent youngsters so that they’re prepared for the horrors of Call of Duty: Mars At War in 2019. Us? We’d far rather be playing HOTD: Overkill. Or with a real NERF gun.
May 5, 2009
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