A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie tie-in game for the PC has difficult controls that only seasoned computer gamers won't find frustrating. It's almost unplayable for most kids. The version for the PlayStation 2 is a better experience. There is some combat in the game, but no blood is shown.
What's it about?
ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES follows the same story as the movie: Arthur has to save his grandmother's homestead from wicked land developers, so he goes on a quest to find treasure hidden in the underground world of the Invisibles, elf-like creatures too tiny for human eyes to see. When Arthur first appears in the land of the Invisibles, he meets Betameche, an Invisible, who teaches the player the game's controls.
Players switch between controlling Arthur, Betameche, and Betameche's sister Selenia. Each character has a special talent, which can be used to help solve the game's many platform puzzles: Arthur swings on vines, Selenia uses a sword, and Betameche charms snails with his knife. All movement is controlled by the keyboard.
Is it any good?
This game is almost unplayable by kids because of its bad control system. Only those experienced in PC games should attempt to play this one. If players can master the convoluted control system, the game provides many puzzles to solve -- they start easy, but soon become more complex and challenging. While there is combat, it is minimal and not too difficult.
Arthur and the Invisibles presents lushly colored environments that really add to the gaming experience. The music also tracks the movie and is quite lovely. Unfortunately, the characters' speech is jerky and full of stutters. This game feels like a sloppily designed port of the console game to the PC, and is best for older kids who are familiar with using the keyboard.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this fantasy world translates from book to screen to video game. If you read the book, does the movie and game look like what you imagined? What's the best way to experience this story? Kids can also talk about why and how the game gets frustrating. If you designed the controls, how would they work?
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