Coraline

 
(i)

 

Creepy, sloppily made game for devoted movie fans only.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The parental role models are self-centered and they ignore their child. The heroine is quite plucky.

Violence

There's not much real violence here on the part of Coraline, who uses a slingshot to protect herself. But some of the monsters like angry rats and evil flowers are quite creepy and they are out to get the plucky young girl. You will see no blood, though.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The game is an adjunct to the movie and the book. But there are no ads for either in the game.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the gameplay seems unfinished and haphazard. Some puzzles are too hard even for parents. Like the movie, this is a game that is somewhat disturbing. The parents seem more concerned with writing a garden catalog than in listening to young Coraline. When the fantasy world into which Coraline retreats becomes her prison, there is fear and creepiness that sensitive kids might not enjoy. On the other hand, some kids will think it's utterly cool.

What's it about?

CORALINE, the video game, closely follows the plot of the dark, 3-D animated movie Coraline, which is based on the ever darker children's book by Neil Gaiman. Lonely but perky and resilient Coraline is ignored by her self-absorbed writer parents and retreats through a door in the wall into a fantasy world. That parallel world, which at first features more perfect parents, seems idyllic. Soon, though, its horrible nature is revealed.

In the Wii version, you'll use the Nunchuk and the Wii remote to move Coraline through her world. The 'C' button becomes a lantern when things are dark while the 'Z' button allows you interact with other characters and see your current objective (like meeting your neighbors) on the screen. The 'A' button lets you jump or climb, and the 'B' button permits you kick or shoot your slingshot. As you move through your missions, you'll collect a lot of buttons, which are redeemable for outfits, artwork, and movie scenes in a store.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Unfortunately, the gameplay is frustrating. Say you accept the mission of picking apples for the sweet, odd ladies who live in the basement. If you hit the apple near the edge of the fruit, it doesn't register. Plus, moving your slingshot with the Nunchuk is slow and imprecise. If you shoot the slingshot at someone you're not supposed to, he doesn't even say 'Ouch' or register pain. Why couldn't the developers have let you simply aim and shoot with the Wii remote?

The moody graphics, the foreboding music, and the wonderful voice acting are lost on gameplay that's boring or doesn't make sense. Coraline feels shunned by her parents. So why must she listen to them when they give her inane tasks like finding blue items in the house? And when the neighbor upstairs calls her Caroline, she doesn't make a peep – completely unlike her reaction in the book and the movie. Add a camera that's buggy and the inability to truly explore your creepy outside surroundings and you've got a game that doesn't do justice to a thoughtful, touching, stop-motion movie that took many years to create.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about when and if the game complements the movie and book. Does playing the game make you want to see the movie again? Do you ever get lonely like Coraline? What do you do when this happens? Have you ever had imaginary friends? What kind of personality did your imaginary friend have?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2
Price:$29.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:D3Publisher of America
Release date:January 28, 2009
Genre:Action/Adventure
ESRB rating:E10+ for Mild Cartoon Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes (Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2)

This review of Coraline was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old October 13, 2010
 

Meh....

This game is ok. i wouldn't say it's considered GOOD though. It's basically some remake of the movie in video game form. It's not even something i will be coming back to. Overall, 3 out of 10
Teen, 14 years old Written byPoison Ivey February 15, 2009
 

Extremely addicting!

This game is really fun and addicting. The gameplay does look unfinished, but it is still fun. It took me forever to finally figure out some of the puzzles, and you need to be really clever to figure some of them out. The only bad thing is that the game is short, and once you beat the game once, the only thing you can do with it is play it again. I beat the game twice, and now i'm kind of bored of it. But it's fun the first time!
Adult Written byadvocatewhat'sright December 30, 2012
 

There's a video game too?!

And guess what? I saw it at the store for FIVE DOLLARS! Tells you how desperate they are to get it off their hands. I already saw the movie, HATED IT! Overrated piece of junk based off of an also overrated book! By the way, they do have a video based off of the 2006 version of Charlotte's Web. Get that instead!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Safety and privacy concerns

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass