Gauntlet

Game review by
Michael Lafferty, Common Sense Media
Gauntlet Game Poster Image
Violent hack-'n'-slash remake limited by shallow gameplay.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Gauntlet's only goal is to destroy all the monsters that spawn in the dungeons. Consequently, it doesn't have positive messages, even when it comes to player decisions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There are four pre-built characters in Gauntlet and no narrative interaction, so the game doesn't have positive role models.

Ease of Play

Gauntlet requires an Internet connection to play, and there are queues to join games in one of the four difficulty settings. The interface is very simple, with only WASD keys for movement and up to four keys to control combat.

Violence

Waves of monsters spawning and attacking. They can be dispatched with bows, hammers, shields, magic, and swords in a very bloody fashion. The game earns its blood and gore rating with each encounter. For example, severed limbs go flying, blood splatters with each attack, and enemies can be set on fire, with flames spreading to nearby monsters if they get too close.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Gauntlet is a downloadable action-adventure game based on the classic arcade game. Players select from one of four characters and attempt to fight off hordes of monsters in large dungeons. The game is quite bloody, with chunks of enemies littering the screen when they're eliminated. The action is fast paced, so having a solid command of keyboard controls is vital. The game relies on online play, placing players into random parties, and requires both an Internet connection and a free WBPlay (Warner Brothers Play) account. Thanks to the WBPlay account, there's support for social media, so kids could potentially connect with strangers.

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What's it about?

GAUNTLET lets players step into the sandals of one of four pre-built characters, then join three other players online for a bloodfest against hordes of computer-generated monsters in a multi-tier dungeon. The game plays from the isometric view, and while there are some puzzles to solve, they're simple and just a means to get back into the battle. Experience is gained to level-up skills, and gold is collected to buy new ones. Up to four skills can be carried by a character. If you play one class, like the Valkyrie, the experience gained doesn't role over to another class, like the mage; the experience each character collects is particular to that character. The game is played online, and there are queues to join a party. Each of the four classes is represented in the online adventure, so players may not always get to play their favorite character (depending on when they join and what other players who preceded them have picked). 

Is it any good?

Gauntlet looks good and is easy to play, but the big problem with this game is that it lacks depth. It really doesn't matter what character you play as (each does play differently, which is important to remember from a tactical perspective), because each dungeon crawl is the same: You enter the dungeon, you get attacked, you wipe the enemies out or get wiped out, you respawn (at the cost of gold), you collect gold to buy new items, and you move on. This is the basic "rinse and repeat" formula.

It's also unfortunate that the game randomly drops players into parties, so the choice of the role/character that a player wishes to play may be limited. Since players can randomly drop from a party, this can lead to frustration, especially if you're facing large hordes of monsters and suddenly lose a party member. It's fun for a while and requires fast reflexes, but there isn't enough variety to sustain the game for long.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about video game violence. Why do you think it appeals to gamers? How can players make sure that behavior exhibited in video games doesn't roll over into real life?

  • Talk about Internet safety. Why is it dangerous to reveal personal information to people you casually meet online?

  • How can you use social media responsibly? Why is it important to be selective in what groups you join?

Game details

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For kids who love action

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