A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is a video-game tie-in for the film of the same name. It's pretty innocuous, tasking players to do little more than swipe their screens to slice food flying through the air. There's no real narrative. The movie's characters make an appearance but exist simply to provide a bit of advice as players move from one stage to the next. Note, too, that this game doesn't last very long. Your kids will probably be finished with it in not much more time than it takes to watch the film.
What's it about?
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2, a video-game spin-off of the film of the same name, is a lot like the popular mobile game Fruit Ninja. It runs players through a few dozen minute-long stages in which the objective is simply to swipe the touch screen to slice food flying through the air. Levels grow in difficulty over the course of the game as more red hazard items -- such as bombs and time-stealing clock faces -- become mixed in with the food. Plus, players are gradually provided trickier goals such as slicing a certain number of donuts in a specific stage. Along the way, kids unlock inventions that provide power-ups to make things a bit easier, befriend some of the "foodimals" seen in the film, and earn collectibles and extras that can be viewed outside the game and used to change the touch-screen backdrop.
Is it any good?
It's hard to recommend a game that's little more than an expensive, movie-themed clone of a popular mobile app that costs a fraction of the price. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2's food items are so pixelated in the DS version that they're sometimes almost unrecognizable. Also, the bonuses and extras players can earn are so uninteresting that they provide little incentive to keep playing once the two-hour story mode is finished.
The worst gaffe, though, may be the frustrating spike in difficulty near the end. Some later levels have a very low tolerance for missed food, yet many consumables that emerge from the bottom of the screen are blocked by red hazard items. Success and failure here is determined by luck -- whether you actually have a chance to slice the food without slicing a hazard -- rather than skill. The game may be worth consideration for die-hard Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs fans if it's found in a bargain bin for a few dollars. Otherwise, this is one movie tie-in game your family can safely skip.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about making wise choices as consumers. Do you feel the urge to purchase toys and other items because they're tied to movies and characters you like? How can you tell whether these are good products worth your money?
Families can also discuss whether games can help players develop better reflexes. Do you think games that require repeated quick responses from players can help improve their reaction times to sudden events?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS
- Subjects: Hobbies: collecting
- Skills: Health & Fitness: fine motor skills
Emotional Development: persevering
- Price: $19.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: GameMill
- Release date: September 24, 2013
- Genre: Puzzle
- Topics: Robots
- ESRB rating: E for (No Descriptors)
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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.