By Paul Semel,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Violent, intentionally hard sci-fi game limited by controls.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Some victories are hard fought, and winning sometimes requires you to be patient and persevere, even to the point of doing the same thing over and over again.
Positive Role Models
The hero is putting their life on the line to possibly save the universe. But they're also killing a lot of sentient creatures who may (or may not) be scared or confused by suddenly appearing in a strange place.
Players can play as either a male or female character, but the only difference is their voice and body shape.
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Ease of Play
The game is intentionally hard, and with checkpoints spread out, forcing you to replay the same sections repeatedly. And the game's awkward controls don't make it easier.
Violence & Scariness
Players use guns and melee weapons to kill many characters, resulting in a lot of bloodshed, though the victims are insect-like aliens, not humans. Also, the player dies a lot.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dolmen is a third-person action game for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. Using a variety of weapons -- including guns, swords, and axes -- players kill numerous insect-like aliens, resulting in a lot of bloodshed. The player also dies, and often, but there's no blood or gore when it happens to them. The game is intentionally difficult, with controls that can be awkward and can cause frustration for players.
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What’s It About?
Set in the far future, DOLMEN has you heading to a mining colony on the planet Revion Prime, which is currently infested with bug-like aliens from another dimension. It seems that Dolmen is a mineral, one with transdimensional properties, and that something has gone horribly wrong, hence the abundance of angry aliens and dead miners. Armed with both a gun and a melee weapon, you have to clear out the infestation, while investigating what happened. But be warned, those space bugs aren't easily squished.
Is It Any Good?
While this third-person sci-fi adventure is yet another game that's intentionally difficult, it's undermined since some of the difficulty is thanks to the controls. Set in the far future, Dolmen sends you to a mining colony on the planet Revion Prime after the facility is overrun by bug-like aliens. Your job, if you chose to accept it, is to clear them out while learning how the titular mineral allowed them to cross over from another dimension. But while you're armed with both guns and melee weapons, the aliens are really, really tough. So much so that this is best described as being like Elden Ring meets Aliens.
It's just too bad it doesn't work as well as that combination might suggest. For starters, the controls are awkward, especially when using a melee weapon. It's like your axe or really big sword is just slightly too heavy for you to swing properly. Not that using a gun is much better since, even if you play as the gun-loving Sharpshooter, the controls run counter to those in similar shooters, and you seem to run out of ammo way too quickly. It also doesn't help that the uninspired visuals make this feel cheap and dated. Heck, even navigating the menus are awkward. Still, if you like intentionally (and unintentionally) tough games, as well as Alien-inspired sci-fi shooters, Dolmen might be the challenge you've been craving.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Dolmen affected by the fact that you kill a lot of aliens, who look like bugs instead of something that isn't human or humanoid? Would the impact be intensified if you were killing people?
Dolmen is an intentionally hard game, one designed to be challenging, so what does playing it teach us about not giving up and about facing challenges head-on? Conversely, what does it teach about knowing when to quit?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Windows
- Pricing structure: Paid ($39.99)
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Massive Work Studio
- Release date: May 20, 2022
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Bugs, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Blood And Gore, Violence
- Last updated: May 31, 2022
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