A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Overall, the messages are positive: Physical fitness, practice, discipline, and pride in your achievements.
Positive Role Models
Your character is a boastful, overconfident youth who learns discipline through karate. All of that is good. He (or she, depending on your choice) does, however, follow a strange man that he just met to a little beach shack in order to learn karate from him. Following a stranger is behavior that is troubling and ought to be discussed with your child.
Ease of Play
The motion controls are very finicky and tempermental. There are many times you are sure you just made the appropriate movement, and you get a big "FAIL!" across the screen. Also, the story progresses through a complicated flow chart of "scenes" that is bizarrely hard to follow.
Violence & Scariness
Your character will kick and punch at opponents, but mostly in training sessions or competitions, not actual fights. Winning means scoring points for successful moves, forcing an opponent out of the ring, or wearing down his energy meter. People are visibly knocked back when hit and make groaning sounds. In certain mini-games, you will also chop and break inanimate objects.
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No bad language, but in one mini-game, you can hit a whoopee cushion, which will make it's signature sound when you do.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that All Star Karate is an active Wii game that will require your kids to move around a bit while playing, but that it is entertainment and in no way an actual form of martial arts instruction. Its instructions are not always clear and the controls can feel glitchy at times.
Is It Any Good?
All Star Karate tries hard, but never quite succeeds. The developers seem to have known they were working with low-budget-looking animation for the cut scenes, so they tried to camp up the story, sound effects, and voice acting, which helps a bit. But campiness can't alleviate confusing instructions or troublesome control mechanics. And the story flow chart -- you click on the scene you want to play, which after completion unlocks new scenes on different paths -- is just plain confusing. It's very easy to accidentally replay a scene you already did or get lost and literally not know where the next open scene is on the chart. All Star Karate has its heart in the right place, but can't get past its development problems.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.