A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
There is no mistaking the action for anything that could take place in the real world. Consequently, the high-octane shenanigans have an air of fantasy; there is no risk of kids attempting to simulate the game’s stunts. It also promotes social gaming among local players and friendly competition online.
Positive Role Models
With no characters to be seen, the role models in this game are essentially the players themselves. Players may take cues based on the actions of those against who they compete, racing cleanly or dirty accordingly.
Ease of Play
The controls are simple; players basically steer, hit the gas, and press the A-button for a speed boost and the X-button to jump. It also has a shallow learning curve. The courses start very easy and get progressively more difficult.
Violence & Scariness
Boats explode, either by crashing into walls and rocks or by hitting red barrels. No driver injury is apparent.
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One of the boats has the word “damn” in its title.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
An in-game billboard advertises “beeritos.”
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hydro Thunder Hurricane is a fantasy boat racing game. There is some violence -- boats explode -- but the drivers are never injured, and the high-speed aquatic action is so over-the-top that there is little risk of any players attempting to simulate it in the real world. Note that while the game does support online play, it does not offer any communication features, which means there is no opportunity for players to share personal information or be exposed to inappropriate behavior.
Is It Any Good?
This is a pretty straightforward boat racer, but it’s fun. Earning points through each of the four modes (and plenty more online) gradually unlocks all of the courses, boats, and competitions -- a good carrot to keep playing until the credits start to roll. And while it’s easy to jump in and win your first few races, things become a little more complex as you go along. Players will need to learn when to use “boost” to cut corners and how to deal with dynamic environmental obstacles, such as the giant water snake that appears in one track. They’ll also need to explore to find the best shortcuts and locate triggers that, say, create ramps or turn on wave generators. And then there are the secret collectible logos hidden around each track, which can be devilishly difficult to locate and grab while racing -- a good challenge for hardcore players. Pretty good value for a measly $15.
Online interaction: This game can be played online with a group of up to four players on each local screen. Neither voice nor text chat is supported, so there is little worry that players will be exposed to unseemly behavior from other players.
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.