A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this video game version of Hamlet has little to do with the source material outside of the characters' names. The "re-envisioned" story is one that most kids will find to be a lot of fun, though, and may inspire them to familiarize themselves with Shakespeare's original. Explain to children that this Hamlet is a spoofy play on the original, and perhaps you can even read the real Hamlet with them as prep work. Spoofs are always more fun when you understand what is being parodied.
What's it about?
A nameless time traveler drops into HAMLET -- and his time machine literally drops onto Shakespeare's Hamlet. With the prince out of the picture, the evil King Claudius changes the whole story, kidnapping Ophelia with plans to force her to marry him. The time traveler must step into hero shoes and take on Claudius and his henchmen to rescue Ophelia and bring her back to the stricken Hamlet. The game is played out through a series of brain-bending point-and-click puzzles, with boss battles against characters like Polonius, Laertes, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Is it any good?
Hamlet is a very likable adventure with playful artwork, creatively designed puzzles, and a bizarre-yet-effective sense of humor. There are multiple laugh-out-loud moments. Some of the puzzles are very challenging and may require too much trial-=and-error exploration for casual gamers. Hints do become available if you're stuck for a certain length of time, but be aware that the clues are just that -- clues -- they never completely give away the solutions. Puzzle afficionados who can appreciate witty literary references (and jokes about the Periodic Table -- Polonius's castle bears a sign with "Po," the symbol for the element Polonium) will likely be sad to see the game come to an end, which happens sooner that we would have hoped.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why it's important to read the great classics of literature. So much of contemporary pop culture -- this game included -- plays upon stories, themes, and references from the classics. Is this game more fun if you already know the real story of Hamlet? What are some other games, books, or movies that have been inspired by literary classics?
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