Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver Versions

Common Sense Media says

Collect & battle game uses a pedometer to get kids walking.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

This particular incarnation of Pokemon carries with it a positive message that no other Pokemon game has had before: Get out and get some exercise. The Pokewalker peripheral works like a pedometer, and the more you walk with it, the more you're rewarded with "watt" points that you can use to help train your Pokemon or get new items.

Positive role models

There have always been somewhat mixed messages in caring for Pokemon. You need to keep their health and well-being in mind, and treat them as you would pets. But at the same time, you've just captured these creatures from out of their natural habitats and you now use them to fight one another.

Ease of play

Pokemon games have always been built with a very easy to learn system, perfect for newcomers to quickly join in on the action.

Violence & scariness

While fighting is as the heart of the Pokemon games, battles between Pokemon creatures are shown in very abstract ways. The language -- "tackle," "scratch," "poison," etc. -- sounds far worse than what you see on screen. Visually, most of the attacks consist of one Pokemon quickly leaning toward the other (but staying several body lengths away), and then seeing a couple of gray puffs appear over the other Pokemon, along with a buzzy, bump noise.

Not applicable

First, there are two versions of what is essentially the same game (each has a couple of exclusive Pokemons to call its own). Kids may beg to own both: "But Mom, I can't get Ho-Oh unless I buy the other one!" These games also tie into the vast Pokemon merchandising empire to which these game belong.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Pokemon HeartGold and Pokemon SoulSilver are two slightly different versions of the same game. Each version contains some exclusive creatures that kids can "capture" and then trade with friends who also have one of the games. These games also come with a new peripheral called the Pokewalker, which is essentailly a pedometer that kids use. Kids are rewarded for walking with the Pokewalker, but they can also use the pocket-sized device to connect with friends for more Pokemon battling and trading. This game has a very high appeal to kids, so parents need to be sure their children won't sneak Pokemon action in where they're not supposed to.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Whether you play POKEMON SOULSILVER or POKEMON HEARTGOLD, your story will center around a young Pokemon trainer exploring his (or her) world to help a scientist find new species of Pokemon. At the same time, the young trainer will enter into Pokemon fighting leagues and battle tournaments. Players can transfer one of their captured Pokemon into the accompanying Pokewalker peripheral (a pedometer that connects to your DS) to take with them and continue to train even when not playing with the main DS game. Pokemon can earn experience points from going on a walk with the player in the real world.

Is it any good?


Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver are just as good as any previous titles from the main line of Pokemon games. They look, sound, and play almost exactly the same way those earlier incarnations did. Yet, while there's not much in the way of startlingly new gameplay, Pokemon fans will certainly get a whole lot more of what they're looking for and love about playing these games. Kids who have only a passing interest in Pokemon and who have played any of the last few years' Pokemon titles might find these new ones a bit repetitive, but they do make excellent jumping on points for kids who are new to the Pokemon world. Also, kudos are due for the inclusion of the Pokewalker, which adds an interesting -- and healthy! -- new level to Pokemon gaming.

Online interaction: Kids can trade captured Pokemon. This encourages interaction between friends.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the benefits of using the Pokewalker add-on. The Pokewalker is not necessary for playing these games, so why use it? Does it actually encourage kids to walk more? Instead of driving, will your children walk or ride a bike to, say, a friend's house if they know they could increase their Pokemon's power by doing so?

  • Families can also talk about how to limit the time kids can play this game so that a reasonable amount is the norm.

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
Price:$39.99 each
Available online?Not available online
Release date:March 14, 2010
ESRB rating:E for Mild Cartoon Violence (Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi)

This review of Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver Versions was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 9 years old Written bygamer dude March 30, 2010

only pokemon game worth getting

it is one of the coolest games ever! it is certinaly better than the other pokemon games, probably the only one worth getting. it does have consumerism though, its trying to get you to buy other pokemon junk. but all in all, its a great game!

What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Kid, 12 years old Written byBrizboy April 15, 2011

Good game but too hard? :-(

This game is to hard for ages 9 and below. The Reasons are 1. The game has 2 regions so that means 16 badges to collect. 2. Some thing are relly confusing. There are more reasons but the reason is this game is more complicated than other version.

What other families should know
Great role models
Educator and Parent of a 8 year old Written byannefessler December 8, 2010

It's an awesome game. You should get it! In it, you can catch powerful Pokemon such as Entei. In it you can solve puzzles, such as you might have to go across ice in the game, and if you need to stop, you have to run into rocks or something on the ice to stop. There are people called Gym Leaders in the game, and I have beat 16 of them. -- Jacob, age 8

What other families should know
Educational value


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