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 game is part of a series of DS games produced by Ubisoft to help girls figure out what they want to be when they grow up. The game is an excellent depiction of the challenges young elite athletes face trying to juggle intense training while keeping up schoolwork and leading a balanced social life. The ESRB warning of "mild suggestive themes" refers to several crushes and rivalries that develop amongst the girls for the attentions of various male characters in the game.
What's it about?
Junior high school sports phenom Jessica has been figure skating since the age of three, and is ready to take her training to the next level and compete on the world stage. To do so, she'll have to train hard to improve her stamina, artistry, and coordination, and learn spins, salchows, toe-loop jumps, and other moves to create stellar skating routines to win competitions. IMAGINE: FIGURE SKATER is part of Ubisoft's Imagine series, a collection of Nintendo DS games aimed at letting young girls explore different careers. The game is divided into weekdays with different goals each day, culminating in the big competition at the end of the month. Jessica can learn new skating moves at the rink (which involve tracing the stylus in different patterns as she skates to reproduce the move), and play various mini-games to improve stats (such as eating sushi to raise stamina, decorating cakes to improve artistry, and dancing via a simple rhythm action game to improve coordination). She can also shop for new skating costumes and CDs to skate to, and pursue a social life through various subplots involving students and teachers at her school, rival skaters, and even a stray puppy named \"Milk\" whom she adopts.
Is it any good?
From training to putting a routine together (players can accept a preset routine or put their own together by selecting a sequence of moves) to sitting with your coach watching scores come in at the end of the program, the game really does a great job of showing the entire process. The game isn't just a sports sim either, but tackles some of the emotional ups and downs that young athletes face. For example, Jessica struggles to balancing her homework with practicing enough to be competitive. She also tries to overcome the jealousy she feels for her best friend Isabel, who's also a competitive skater, and strives to maintain her confidence and focus amidst various distractions.
Cute anime cartoon-style graphics and some fun and quirky scenarios (mini-games include having to clear marauding penguins out of the skating rink by bopping them with curling rocks, and eating sushi while avoiding the cat-shaped sushi rolls) make Imagine: Figure Skater a thorough and entertaining insight into what it's like to be an elite athlete.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the sacrifices athletes often have to make in other areas of their lives in order to be the best in the world at their sport. In what ways are world-class athletes inspirational? Families can also talk about the careers of famous figure skaters like Brian Boitano, Kurt Browning, Michelle Kwan, and Nancy Kerrigan.
- Platforms: Nintendo DS
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions
Arts: choreography, rhythm
Hobbies: fashion, sports
- Skills: Self-Direction: identifying strengths and weaknesses, personal growth, work to achieve goals
Emotional Development: developing resilience, handling stress, persevering
Communication: friendship building
Health & Fitness: body awareness, fine motor skills
- Price: $29.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: UbiSoft
- Release date: March 4, 2008
- Genre: Girl
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Suggestive Themes
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.