A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ghost of a Tale is a downloadable single-player stealth adventure game featuring anthropomorphic animals. It features some cartoon violence (enemies are knocked out with bottles, and if the hero is found by guards, he's whacked repeatedly with a spear). The hero collects bottles of "rotgut" that can be used as weapons, while guards are shown drunk during some missions. Occasional potty humor includes punny references to "balls" and fart jokes. Younger kids may not be skilled enough to handle the stealth mechanic, and some players could be frustrated if their reflexes aren't fast enough to avoid detection.
- Parents say
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What's it about?
GHOST OF A TALE is an adventure in the spirit of The Secret of Nimh or the Redwall fantasy series, where humanized animals like mice, rats, and frogs talk and interact in a medieval fantasy environment. The star of the adventure is Tilo, a minstrel mouse, who's been separated from his wife and child and imprisoned by a ruthless rat army. He doesn't like to use violence, preferring to use his smarts and his sneaking abilities to escape his cell and find his family. As Tilo, your job is to find your way around a rat fortress, finding keys, opening doors, and talking to a range of quirky characters. This is easier said than done, since the place is crawling with guards who'll take you out if they can catch you.
Is it any good?
Despite some random bugs and crashes, this charming adventure is easily one of the best indie adventures you'll find on PC. Fans of the Redwall fantasy series will likely buy it just for the cute character design and cool atmosphere, and once they do, they won't be disappointed. Ghost of a Tale is packed with clever, amusing situations and dialogue that are a just reward for the effort it takes to reach them. This is a true stealth game with only one difficulty setting. As such, it can be tough for players without quick reflexes and patience. Go slow, time things right, and you can pull off some amazing sneaky feats; rush into things, and you're off to an early grave. It isn't a role-playing game, but there's plenty of opportunity to collect different gear and useful upgrades do happen. Story lovers will revel in the funny item descriptions and lore, not to mention the often silly dialogue. Despite the broad humor, an underlying emotional thread keeps things real as Tilo searches for his lost wife and child, and keeps tension high as you root for him to succeed. The occasional bug can still rear its ugly head, but the comprehensive save system ensures you never lose too much time if it does. Also, once in a while poor lighting can make quest objectives frustrating to complete. Still, these things are minor in the overall scheme of things, and Ghost of a Tale's charm, cleverness, and heart more than make up for it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about character strengths like perseverance and the importance of family. Ghost of a Tale focuses on a father's attempt to reunite his family. Are there other stories that you can think of with similar themes? What makes these stories so much fun to read, watch, or play?
Talk about books, movies, and games where animals act like people. Which ones are your favorites?
Think about the difference between stealth and combat. Which do you think is more difficult? Why?
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