Barbie and the Three Musketeers

 
Cheap game based on DVD movie with clunky play mechanics.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

It’s all about girl power. Players use the unique talents of four different girls, plus a female cat, to navigate through tricky platforming levels that require both brains and a bit of brawn (to scare away bothersome creatures and break down barriers).

Positive role models

The girls in the game are self-reliant puzzle solvers. They must occasionally threaten violence against animals blocking their paths -- Corinne, for example, brandishes and swings her sword to scare away pesky critters -- but they are never truly violent.

Ease of play

The controls are simple enough, but they’re very stiff. Plus, platforming objectives can be quite vexing. There were several occasions in which we had difficulty figuring out what to do next in order to progress.

Violence & scariness

The girls brandish weapons, including a sword and a ribbon used as a whip, to scare away enemies, such as bats and mice. A small cat can attack with his paws, but he, too, merely scares rather than harms enemies. No creatures are actually struck or hurt.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This video game is based on the direct-to-DVD movie of the same name, and features several scenes from the film. It’s safe to say that little girls who play the game will likely want to watch the movie and buy the recently released toys based on the movie -- which is likely just what Mattel and Activision intended.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while Barbie and the Three Musketeers is highly commercial fare, it has a good message about girl power. Its heroines are self-reliant puzzle solvers who make their way through side-scrolling, two-dimensional worlds scaring away animals and collecting coins and hearts. There is the threat of violence -- our characters use weapons such as a sword and claws to scare away small animals including mice and bats -- but they never strike anything other than inanimate objects, such as bricks and scarecrows. While girls as young as age 5 will be attracted to this game after seeing the DVD movie, it is so difficult to play that is fits better at age 7.

What's it about?

Based on the recently released direct-to-DVD movie starring Barbie and her friends, BARBIE AND THE THREE MUSKETEERS features the iconic doll as a French country girl who wants to head to Paris to become a musketeer. She journeys with her cat, Miette, and befriends three other young girls, each of whom has a special ability. Together, they embark on a simple side-scrolling adventure, leaping between platforms, swinging across gaps, and scaring away annoying animals with weapons such as swords, claws, and ribbon whips. Players can switch to smaller Miette whenever they like and crawl through narrow tunnels to reach hidden treasure and toggle buttons that activate bridges and doors. There’s also a shop players can visit to spend coins and buy outfits for the girls.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There are some good Barbie games out there, but this isn’t one of them. Aside from a few polished clips from the film, the game looks like a free Flash-based PC game. Plus, stiff, unforgiving controls make moving around and jumping a frustrating chore. Worst of all, though, is that many levels are just too hard. It can be very difficult to figure out where to go next or how to go about getting there. It’s tough to believe that the game’s target demographic of six- and seven-year-olds will have the patience or fortitude required to work through some of these navigational puzzles.

Still, it’s not all bad. Our heroines’ and Miette’s distinct abilities are fun to use, and provide good reason to return to earlier levels with areas that were previously inaccessible. And Viveca’s clothing shop will provide good entertainment for doll-loving youngsters. It’s just too bad that the rest of the game feels so rushed and unpolished.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the game and the movie. How closely does the game follow the movie’s story? Did you feel like you had an opportunity to play out events you saw in the film? If you haven’t seen the movie, does the game make you want to watch it?

  • Families can also discuss film merchandising. What purpose do games based on movies serve? Do you think these sorts of games are generally as fun and interesting as games with original stories and characters? Would you have played this game had it starred unfamiliar characters?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Windows, Nintendo DSi
Price:$19.99-29.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Activision
Release date:October 27, 2009
Genre:Girl
ESRB rating:E for Mild Cartoon Violence (Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo Wii, Windows)

This review of Barbie and the Three Musketeers was written by

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Quality

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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; OK 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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Parent of a 10 year old Written byrosezena August 6, 2010
age 10+
 
i love this game i play this every day and i whatch the movie
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Parent Written byLikaLaruku September 17, 2011
age 11+
 

One of the better Barbie movies.

Let your toddler watch this by herself; the historical inaccuracies will have anyone with an education ripping their hair out. Unlike most Barbie drivel, this one actually has some moral value. Instead of men rescuing damsels, the roles are switched & the girls are all career-motivated. The down-side is that Barbie is still a Mary Sue.
What other families should know
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old December 31, 2009
age 7+
 

perfect game for kids

love it!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages

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