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 DS version of DISNEY ALICE IN WONDERLAND is completely different from the Wii and PC version. It is also not a direct adaptation of the new Alice movie (the packaging even notes that the game is "inspired by" the film). The game uses highly stylized, very cartoonish visuals, but does contain a lot a fighting (mixed among far more puzzle-like brain-gaming). Even the cartoony characters can look a bit creepy at time, though, so the very young might find the game frightening. There is no need, though, to worry about any kind of realistic violence.
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What's it about?
This DISNEY ALICE IN WONDERLAND follows the White Rabbit, the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, and the Mad Hatter as they lead the girl they believe to be their savior (Alice) through the strange landscapes of Underland to find the legendary Vorpal Blade, which can be used to defeat the treacherous Red Queen and her monstrous Jabberwocky. Each of the heroes has a unique power (respectively: manipulating time, altering gravity, making things appear or disappear, and flipping the perspective), that must be used to get past puzzle-like obstacles along the way.
Is it any good?
Disney Alice in Wonderland offers so much more than your standard 2-D platformer game for the Nintendo DS. Its developers made a very wise choice in not attempting to duplicate the lush graphics of the Wii/PC Alice adaptation, and instead went for a beautifully stylized (but graphically simpler) cartoony look. The tone and feel is still very Tim Burton, though -- obviously inspired by the film. The special abilities of each characters are also put to exceptionally good use over the course of the game. The rabbit time-manipulating power, for instance, could have been the central gimmick of a game all its own. When you see a fallen apple, for instance, you can stand on it, reverse time, and ride the fruit back up into the tree it had fallen from. Genius! Wonderfully creative touch are found throughout, especially with the map of Underland, which the player is able to mix around to create shortcuts. Repetitive battles are the game's only real flaw.
Online interaction: The game allows you to win unique costume items for your avatar in D-Gamer, Disney's online gaming community.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about differences between the game and the movie. How is Alice different in each? Which version of Alice do children prefer?
Families can also discuss the depiction of violence in the game. Does the cartoony way in which the fights are portrayed make them less violent? Less scary? Or is it possible that the spooky imagery of the game can make it more frightening?
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