A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Brave: The Video Game is an action/adventure video game spin-off of the movie with which it shares its name. Kids who view or play one will likely want to view or play the other. The game’s heroine is just as strong and courageous a young woman as she is in the film, though her strained relationship with her mother -- the focus of the film -- is downplayed here in favor of presenting a steady stream of battles. Aside from a few quick puzzles, players spend almost all of their time engaged in simple and cartoonish (no blood or gore) combat in which they use a bow and sword to fend off fantastical creatures.
What's it about?
Based on Disney Pixar's animated film of the same name, BRAVE: THE VIDEO GAME is an action game that stars Merida, a young Scottish princess who accidentally causes her mother to be transformed into a bear. She spends the game looking for a way to turn her back into a human before the magic spell becomes permanent. This entails a good deal of combat. She takes on a steady stream of fantastical characters under the influence of different sorts of magic, using both a sword and a bow and arrow to defeat them and make them disappear. A second player can join in as a helper by controlling a floating will-o'-the-wisp. Players will also encounter a few simple puzzles that put them in control of a trio of bear cubs -- Merida's brothers -- who flip switches and pull levers to bypass mechanical contraptions. In the X360 version, outside of the game proper is a quick archery challenge that requires Microsoft's Kinect motion controller.
Is it any good?
Brave: The Video Game is a middling video game spin-off filled with predictable and repetitive action. It sacrifices the film's stirring relationship between its mother and daughter characters in favor of serving up a constant flow of running, jumping, and sword-swinging action. The battle mechanics are competent and should prove engaging for younger audiences, but parents who opt to join in will likely find themselves yawning after 15 or 20 minutes of the game's decidedly repetitive brawling combat. Since this game is so combat heavy, it may turn off some of its targeted audience of girl gamers.
The puzzles -- simple logic conundrums that require players to noodle out the proper order of steps to achieve a specific goal -- are a highlight, and the archery mini-game for Kinect players will get kids up off the couch, if only for a few minutes. However, Brave: The Video Game is, by and large, just another video game adaptation of a good film that squanders its source material.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in media. Is the impact of violence in games dependent on the genders of the characters involved?
Families can also discuss female characters in games. Do you think a character like Brave's Merida is a good role model for girls because she is strong and capable in battle? Does her violent behavior sabotage her potential as a character that could inspire female players?
- Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, teamwork
Emotional Development: empathy, identifying emotions, perspective taking
Thinking & Reasoning: defining problems, logic, solving puzzles
Health & Fitness: movement
- Price: $29.99-$49.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Disney Interactive
- Release date: June 19, 2012
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Fairy Tales, Great Girl Role Models
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.