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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 is a game that teaches about nurturing and taking care of others. It is a life simulation game with some adventure aspects thrown in. And since it reveals its content slowly over time, it is a game that teaches responsibility as kids must periodically check in on their charges. If kids forget to check in on their friends, they don't die although they may complain about your absence. The game also provides a few games for kids to play together using the Internet via Nintendo Wi-Fi connection, or locally using a wireless connection. Common Sense Media does not recommend online gaming for anyone under age 12.
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What's it about?
DISNEY FRIENDS is a life simulation game where you're charged with taking care of four famous Disney characters: Stitch from Lilo & Stitch, Winnie the Pooh, Dory from Finding Nemo, and young Simba from The Lion King.
As Guardian of these characters, you need to pay attention to their moods, their hunger needs, their sleep, and their music needs. After training you in how to be a Guardian, the game slowly unfolds by only letting you interface with one Disney friend -- Stitch. Your interactions with Stitch gains you points, which you need to earn if you want to become a better friend and guardian. Earn enough points, and a new friend will become available to you. Also, as you gain your friends' trust by taking care of them, they will reward you by inviting you on adventures at famous locations from movies. For example, Stitch will invite you to play with him at Lilo's house. At each of the 16 game locations, you can hunt for coins, the currency in this game, which allows you to purchase toys and food for your friends.
Is it any good?
The gameplay in Disney Friends is a lot like that in Nintendogs, the mega-popular puppy simulation game. Instead of cute dogs jumping on your screen for attention, you have Disney friends tapping on the screen and calling to you. To keep the characters entertained, you have an arsenal of toys and activities including making music and drawing pictures together. Each friend also has a special activity that they love. So for Stitch, you can build a block city that he revels in stomping down. Because the game reveals its content slowly over time, this is a game that kids will play for weeks. The game makes good use of the internal DS clock to present nighttime scenes and changes of seasons. It also limits some games to play once a day.
While this game presents a fun simulation that children will want to explore, it has a few minor glitches. Directions are sometimes unclear and they frequently appear in a font size that is almost too small to read. However, the overall experience is compelling and focuses on building positive experiences about caring for others.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the personality of each cartoon character is depicted in the game. Which character was the easiest to care for? Which one did you like best? Were there any activities that you liked better than others? How did you feel about cleaning up? Do you think this game helped you prepare for babysitting?
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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.