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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 game is based on characters established by Disney's new Bolt movie, and will likely be coveted by children who count themselves fans of the film. Bolt, a scrappy little dog who acts as a superdog in a television show is shown fighting human enemies by ramming, tossing, and barking at them, while his owner Penny sometimes enters the fray using a bar to whack bad guys. Defeated foes simply pass out and disappear. Note that DS players have the option of going online and becoming a part of Disney's Dgamer community.
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What's it about?
The requisite video game spinoff of Disney's CGI movie, BOLT is actually based on the television show within the film, in which the scrappy little pup Bolt really does have super powers. Players are led on an adventure that spans the globe (allowing for some scenic environments in countries including Russia, Italy, and China) as the superhero dog and his master Penny take on evil criminal mastermind Calico and hundreds of his faceless, ninja-like henchmen as they try to rescue Penny's dad.
Is it any good?
For a game based on a movie, Bolt is surprisingly compelling. The voice cast, graphics, and animations are excellent; it sometimes feels as though the game is an interactive computer-animated movie. And it's a cinch to learn. On-screen instructions provide all of the information players need to understand and execute Bolt's stock of moves and attacks, and hints pop up if the player is struggling against a particularly tricky foe.
It does, however, fall into repetition a little too often. The game has a tendency to cycle between activities, making players, say, spend a few minutes navigating a treacherous area before arriving in a big open area where they spend several minutes fighting a seemingly never-ending stream of cookie-cutter villains. A better blended series of challenges would have made things a bit less monotonous and more organic. Still, it's short enough that the repetition doesn't become a major factor. If you have a Bolt fan in your household, this is a good pick.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the relationships children have with their pets. Would you want your pet to be in show business? If you had a pet, how would your interactions change it were it suddenly to become intelligent and gain super powers? Would you still think of it as belonging to you, or as being more of a friend? You can also discuss the game makers' decision to base Bolt on the television show within the film rather than on the film itself, which saw the pup disenchanted upon realizing that he didn't actually have any super powers.
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