A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Players need to plan ahead and try to be prepared for different eventualities. Building a successful team of monsters is an exercise in strategic thinking.
Positive Role Models
The game's hero sets a decent example for players. He shows good sportsmanship and a willingness to listen and learn from those more experienced than him. His female friend and partner, however, has a quick temper and isn't afraid to trash-talk the opposition.
Ease of Play
LIke many of the best strategy games, Foto Showdown has simple rules and easy controls, but allows for all sorts of increasingly challenging strategies that can be learned along the way. The game's difficulty curve is nicely plotted out as well. The only real problem comes with the game's gimmick of using the DSi camera to "capture" monsters. Taking pictures is not difficult, but finding photo ops that will provide you with new and different creatures can prove more challenging than it probably should be.
Violence & Scariness
Just as in Pokémon and other similar games, the fighting in Foto Showdown is depicted in an abstract way. No violence is shown on screen. The attacking creature is shown first, then the defending creature is shown separately, along with some sort of thwacking "action sound" and a decreasing health bar. A few of the monsters are of the skeleton/demon variety, and might be scary looking for younger kids.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One villainous female character in the story wears a revealing outfit that bares the bottoms of her breasts.
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There is one instance of "kick your butt" in the dialogue.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while Foto Showdown is a game based around monster combat, it contains no real depictions of violence. The stylistic approach used to depict the battles is very similar (and possibly even less graphic) than that in Pokémon, Bakugan, or similar creature-fighting games. It is worth noting, though, that one villainous female character in the story wears a revealing outfit that bares the bottoms of her breasts.
Is It Any Good?
Foto Showdown is an addictively enjoyable strategy game. While its general monster-battle concept may sound derivative of Pokémon or Bakugan, its gameplay is different enough to feel unique. The storyline may be vague and baffling at times, but plot is definitely not the main draw here. What will keep kids playing is the brainy action and the ever-appealing goal of capturing all 150 possible monster types. Unfortunately, achieving that goal feels near impossible. The photo gimmick is a fun idea, but you really have to wonder how well it works. You can take pictures of items with completely different color schemes and still get the same exact monster (almost any player will grow to hate "wyverns," since every third monster you capture will be one). As you can also win new monsters in battles, the photo gimmick isn't even really necessary. The game is really very good without it.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.