A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Chariot is a charming downloadable cooperative platformer that involves transporting a dead king's remains to his final resting place. Though the concept of death underlies the entire game, it's handled fancifully, with the dead king's ghost floating over his sarcophagus like a genie and heckling his daughter. Gameplay is physics-based, and navigating some areas requires a high degree of physical coordination or assistance from a second player. Players will have to fend off bats, penguins, and other threats, but there's no blood, and enemies disappear when defeated.
What's it about?
CHARIOT begins with a dead king -- and a young princess whose job it is to bury his remains. She and her fiancé set out across a series of challenging environments, dragging her father's sarcophagus behind her on a wheeled cart (or "chariot," as the case may be). Along the way, they collect as much treasure as they can to bury with dear old dad and fight off various gold-swiping creatures. They also learn how much easier a difficult task can be with the help of a loyal (and coordinated) friend.
Is it any good?
Chariot presents itself in such a spritely, colorful way, you really never think about the fact that the heroine is lugging around a dead body on a cart. Instead, you focus on the beautiful and varied levels full of glowing plants and craggy rock formations rendered in gorgeously saturated color. Plus, the art style is well supported by the amusing nagging of the dead king's ghost and the whimsical Renaissance Faire-like soundtrack. Still, Chariot is more than just a great-sounding game and pretty facade. It's physics are handled so well that you'll quickly get the hang of how to drag the cart around whatever's in your way.
The first few levels are fairly straightforward, but things quickly become so difficult that you'll need a second pair of hands to simply get through sections. In fact, some areas literally require it, with a sign indicating where these cooperative segments begin. Although these areas can be really fun, they prevent solo players from obtaining rewards for special gadgets that make later levels a whole lot easier. Without these items, play can become an exercise in hair-pulling frustration. Even with this cooperative bias, Chariot is a fun little game that's well worth a chunk of your interactive entertainment budget. It's pretty, witty, well-made, and a great way to spend a few hours, especially if you can enlist the help of an agreeable friend.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games like Chariot. Is the combat OK because defeated enemies simply vanish in a cartoonish manner? Is the violence more acceptable?
Talk about royal burials. Throughout history, why have kings taken their treasure with them?
Discuss the idea of teamwork. How does working with someone else make a task easier?
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $14.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Frima Studios
- Release date: October 1, 2014
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses and Fairies, Adventures, Fairy Tales, Great Girl Role Models
- ESRB rating: E
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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.