Finding Nemo: Escape to the Big Blue Special Edition

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Finding Nemo: Escape to the Big Blue Special Edition Game Poster Image
Polished mini-game collection is good fun for younger kids.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about subjects ranging from drawing and hygiene to logic and memory in this fun collection of mini-games. Maze challenges put youngsters' thinkers to the test while others force kids to recall pictures and location. Kids will practice their tracing skills in a quick draw challenge and think about oral hygiene while cleaning a shark's sharp teeth. Finding Nemo: Escape to the Big Blue Special Edition mini-games are meant for fun, but they do contain activities in line with subjects that kids study early in school.  

Positive Messages

This game contains some of the same themes as the movie, including friendship and perseverance, though the simplicity of the narrative and activities means they come in watered down form. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The cast, composed entirely of aquatic creatures, doesn't offer any realistic role models. Still, the characters strive to do right. Their objectives range from escaping danger to just having a bit of fun, whether it's batting a pearl into a clamshell or finding each other playing hide and seek. They certainly won't give kids any bad ideas.

Ease of Play

Most of the 30 or so activities are pretty simple, and they all come with detailed on-screen tutorials. However, there are a couple that might prove frustrating -- including one in which two fish friends attempt to swim against the current by latching themselves to rocks, which is largely dependent on luck.

Violence & Scariness

One mini-game involves floating mines that explode should the player's character -- a shrimp -- come into contact with them. No injuries are depicted (the character simply flashes when hurt), but the explosions cause heart icons to disappear. In another game the player's character -- a fish in a bag -- can get hit by cars on a busy street, again resulting in the subtraction of heart icons.    


This game is tied to the film's re-release in theaters. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Finding Nemo: Escape to the Big Blue Special Edition is a collection of simple mini-games suitable for kids as young as five years old. It has little in the way of iffy content -- fish can swim into mines in one game, but the resulting explosions just cause the player's character to flash for a few seconds -- and visual tutorials provide instructions for kids who may not yet be strong readers. Parents should note that the game coincides with the theatrical re-release of the film in 3D, and that kids who play the game will likely want to see the movie. Parents need to remember that Nintendo is warning all parents not to allow kids age six and under to view the graphics in 3D because that viewing "may cause vision damage." The Nintendo 3DS offers parents the ability to lock out the use of 3D graphics in the system's Parental Controls.

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What's it about?

An updated version of a six-year old Nintendo DS game, FINDING NEMO: ESCAPE TO THE BIG BLUE SPECIAL EDITION contains about 30 activities best suited for kids between five and eight. Players begin by selecting a character from the Tank Gang (the fish caught in the aquarium in the film). Each begins his or her adventure by hopping into a water-filled bag and rolling around a maze that takes them from a house across a busy road and into the sea. Once in the ocean they get into additional escapades that take the form of mini-games. Players will tap fish as they scroll down the screen in a rhythm game challenge, attempt to capture fish on a line of seaweed and reel them back to safer waters, and even play hide and seek. Each activity earns kids credits that they can use to outfit a virtual aquarium (or sea floor) with fish and pieces of scenery.

Is it any good?

Finding Nemo: Escape to the Big Blue Special Edition should prove entertaining to its target audience. Most of the mini-games are legitimately fun and offer just the right level of challenge for younger kids. Plus, the aquarium mode gives kids reason to keep playing in order to earn more credits to buy more fish and scenery items, creating good value for your gaming dollar. A couple of trickier games -- including one based mostly on luck in which kids have to tap moving rocks to slingshot through a current -- put a light damper on the experience at times, but you can expect little fans of the film to have a mostly happy time. Finding Nemo: Escape to the Big Blue Special Edition may be an updated re-release, but its arrival is well timed, especially since anyone who played the original will have long since outgrown it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about aquatic life. Are you interested in creatures like fish, crabs, coral, and other forms of sea life? Did this game teach you anything about marine animals that you didn't already know?

  • Families can also discuss the connection between movies and games. Do you like to play games based on movies? If so, is it because you enjoy the characters?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love puzzles and adventures

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