Jake Power: Policeman

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Jake Power: Policeman Game Poster Image
Fun, accessible action game for young children.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Players take on the role of a police officer who chases down and captures criminals without using violence.

Violence & Scariness

Players catch criminals with flashlights, not guns. You can bump into other cars while driving, but there are no crashes.

Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a game intended for young children who have advanced beyond the most basic interactive entertainments and are interested in experiencing something with a little more action. Players chase down criminals in uncomplicated mini-games that involve such activities as climbing ladders and moving a police car between lanes. There is neither fighting nor gunplay; criminals are captured simply by shining a flashlight on them. Play is generally very intuitive, and voice and animated instructions help kids when they get stuck. Note, though, that younger children might experience frustration in later missions, which require quick reflexes to complete within the allotted time.

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What's it about?

JAKE POWER: POLICEMAN, the first entry in Ubisoft's new line of Jake Power action games for kindergarten-aged kids, puts players take in the role of the titular hero as he chases down bad guys in cars and on foot. The action involves no violence.

Missions begin with a quick race through city streets in which players steer their cars between lanes and lay on the horn to get civilian vehicles to move out of the way. Then begins a small selection of random mini-games, such as pointing a flashlight at thieves carrying loot to make them surrender, blowing into the microphone to sound a whistle that stops crooks in their tracks, and guiding criminals' fingers down to paper squares to take their prints. After each mission, players are awarded accessories for their police vehicle, which they can use to transform their modest little cop car into a decked out, dual-exhaust, multi-siren SUV, complete with a KITT-like eye above the front and rear bumpers.

Is it any good?

If police officers fascinate your children but they're still too young to play games in which crime fighters are engaged in truly dangerous activities, then Jake Power: Policeman is a good stopgap. Its fast-paced action manages the tricky feat of feeling exciting without containing any violence. Plus, the mini-games are both simple to understand and highly intuitive, letting kids pick up the game and start playing with minimal frustration.

However, activities do get more difficult as the game progresses. Tasks remain the same but there is less time in which to complete them, meaning players must work faster and make fewer mistakes. It could prove irritating for younger children who simply can't react quickly enough to, say, tap all of the burglars or ladder rungs before time expires. It's unfortunate that Ubisoft did not include a mode that eliminated the timer altogether, allowing the game's youngest players to simply keep playing until they finish each mini-game. That one beef aside, Jake Power: Policeman is a great early interactive experience for beginner gamers -- especially those who want to be police officers when they grow up.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the kinds of exciting jobs that tend to fascinate kids, such as firefighter, police officer, and astronaut. Why are these professions so attractive to young minds? In particular, what is it about police work that seems so enticing? Is it because police are the good guys who keep you safe? Or is it the physical activity? The competition between police officers and the suspects they chase? You can also discuss the dangers inherent in these careers, and explain the extensive training that people go through to make sure that they remain as safe as possible on the job.

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS
  • Price: $29.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: UbiSoft
  • Release date: February 17, 2009
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: E for (No Descriptors)

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