Nerf fans, your wait is at an end: Now you can use a Nerf gun as both a real-life foam-slinging weapon and an accessory to your video game robot-killing skills. At Electronic Arts' Studio Showcase, we got our hands on such a product, and it's packaged with Nerf N-Strike, an upcoming rail shooter for the Nintendo Wii. The game isn't meant for everyone; it's specifically being targeted at boys between the ages of 8 and 12. However, that age group (and Nerf enthusiasts) may want to keep their eyes on this light gun title.
We can't discuss the game without first discussing the accompanying peripheral. Nerf N-Strike comes packaged with a surprisingly weighty light gun, into which you slide the Wii Remote. This gun is different from others, though: You fire Nerf darts from it as well. Considering the game supports local competitive play, you can imagine the possibilities. Lost to your buddy by a point or two? Just take aim and fire a foam projectile at him! The gun seems a little front-heavy but is quite sturdy and comfortable, which is a good thing, since you spend most of the game hammering on the B button with your index finger.
The story campaign is quite lengthy for a light gun shooter, and most players should expect to complete it in a dozen hours. The story's hero is a typical All-American boy whose video game-playing prowess is noticed by a mysterious robot. That night, the cylindrical automaton invades the boy's room and makes an offer no red-blooded preteen could refuse: Join the ranks of the Elite Strikers by showcasing your Nerfing skills. Of course, not all goes according to plan, and as the main character, you'll soon be shooting through hordes of raging bots. The comic-book-style cutscenes are bright and colorful, complete with stylized text bubbles and emphatic dialogue.
The game itself follows familiar light gun standards. There are six modes total, including cooperative modes you can play with a friend. Over the course of the game, you can unlock 25 blasters, which run the gamut from powerful shotguns to lighter fare. While not all of these Nerf guns are available on store shelves, EA tells us that real-life prototypes were created for each in-game weapon. All of the enemies we encountered while playing with other journalists were robotic, though some moved quickly enough to make targeting them quite a challenge. Onslaught and Revolt modes followed similar lines: Bots popped up on the screen, and we gunned for a high score.
In Sphere mode, we shot at mechanical spheres as they rolled about an arena. Each shot turned the targeted sphere blue, while our opponent tried to turn it red. This caused a furious shootout, as we each tried to paint the sphere entirely with our own colors, which destroys it. Blox mode also takes the puzzling route, and plays similarly to EA's own Bloom Blox. In this mode, two players compete for high scores by destroying stacks of blocks in the center of the screen.
We saw some nice destruction effects and moving environments as we played, so if you like rail shooters or are into Nerf guns, Nerf N-Strike may pique your interest. It's due out on November 4, 2008, and will come packaged with the Nerf peripheral (the game and peripheral will be sold separately, as well). Look for it on store shelves, in the game section--and in the toy section.