Nerf N-Strike (Wii) – The Cure for the Common FPS?

Geek Culture

This game poses an interesting question: if most people play FPS (first-person shooter) games to pretend to be using cool real-world (or better than real-world) guns, will anyone actually play one that uses a simulation of guns that are intended not to be realistic, dangerous weapons?

I’m gonna say yes.

The hook of this game is that it comes with a functional Nerf pistol, that also serves as an add-on game controller into which you set your Wiimote.  When you play the game, like may the FPS, you see yourself carrying the exact same pistol on-screen (though you can select/unlock a whole host of other Nerf weapons as well).  It’s a little surrealistic, but fun at the same time.  And the controller works darn well – nicely balanced and completely gives you the illusion that you’re shooting the pistol, not pulling a trigger that’s activating the B button on the Wiimote.

The game itself has something of the conceit of The Last Starfighter with the young hero invited to learn to use new, top secret weapons, fight robots, and so on.  But that’s not important right now (and stop calling me Shirley).  What’s important is the gameplay, which is a bunch of fun, and very kid-friendly.

You shoot Nerf darts at robots and targets and blocks to achieve challenges, score points, and unlock cooler and cooler Nerf guns – even the big old Vulcan we wrote about a little while back. The challenges are varied and interesting, including some Boom Blox-like knocking things off a platform, and some good old corridor firefights.

But the thing is, it’s Nerf, so you can have fun playing a shooter with your younger kids and not feel worried that little Susie will start having Deadspace nightmares and need to start therapy early (or any earlier than being exposed to The Prisoner before turning 7 might cause).

Wired: Fun, kid-friendly FPS gameplay; good controller

Tired: Not a challenge for hard-core gamers

Electronic Arts/$60

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