Kung Zhu

 
(i)

 

Violent combat is a huge contrast to previous Zhu games.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The positive part of the story lies in the way the Kung Zhu team members rescue one another. But the game is all about fighting and sends a violent message overall.

Positive role models

The regular Zhu Zhu Pets are fun, friendly critters, but these Kung Zhu hamsters are machismo-fueled, weapon-wielding warriors who always seem eager and ready to fight.

Ease of play

As an action platformer, this is a very simple game to play. The controls are just about as easy to learn and use as they could be, and the difficulty level, while it increases as you go, is never too high.

Violence

This is a fighting game. Players controls warrior hamsters who battle enemy hamsters with swords, nunchucks, throwing stars, hand grenades, swords, laser pistols, and massive rocket launchers. Defeated enemies cry out, fall to the ground and disappear. The violence is all cartoony, but it's an overwhelming presence in the game.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game is a tie-in/spinoff of the popular Zhu Zhu Pets toy line (though its characters in no way resemble the actual toys). It is the third in a line of Zhu Zhu games (released the same day as the second game). A special edition of the game comes packaged with a Zhu Zhu Pets hamster toy.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Kung Zhu may be a Zhu Zhu Pets game, but that it is nothing like the Zhu Zhu Pets your children already know and love. This combat heavy game is an effort to get action-hungry boys interested in the Zhu Zhu Pets franchise. To that end, the hamsters here are all cast as violent warriors who weild massive weapons and battle hundreds of enemies. The violence is all rather cartoony, but be aware that this is a far cry from the other, very innocent Zhu Zhu video games that are available.

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What's it about?

KUNG ZHU is an action game spun off from the popular cute-and-cuddly Zhu Zhu Pets hamster toys. The hamsters of Kung Zhu (which resemble bears more than hamsters) are members of a special ops military team. They use martial arts, swords and throwing stars, heavy guns, and robotic action suits to battle an army of evil hamsters that have stolen a collection of ancient tablets and kidnapped their comrades. Each hamster you free from imprisonment joins your team. You will also earn new uniquely-powered battle suits as you play.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Kung Zhu bears no resemblance to any other part of the Zhu Zhu Pets franchise. It is an out-and-out military action game -- even if its heroes are hamsters. And as long as you're not looking for the cuddly positivity that you usually associate with Zhu Zhu Pets, it's a pretty good action game. There are a slew of playable characters, each with his own special weapons and attacks -- and a bevy of unique battle suits to equip them with -- which keeps the gameplay varied and exciting. And the controls are super simplified, making it easy for action-game novices to jump right in. Each labyrinthine level offers numerous crossroads that will lead you in all sorts of different directions and offers plenty of opportunity for exploration (not to mention replay value). It's definitely a decent game -- it's just a bit shocking to anybody who knows and likes the Zhu Zhu Pets in their softer, friendlier forms.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the violence in the game. Does violence and fighting belong in a game about cuddly hamsters?

  • If you're a boy, does the combat and weaponry make the game more appealing to you? Do you still like the other, nonviolent Zhu Zhu Pets games?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
Price:$29.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Activision
Release date:October 19, 2010
Genre:Action/Adventure
ESRB rating:E10+ for Cartoon Violence (Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi)

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Learning ratings

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old December 1, 2010
 

little brother

im going to get it for my little 7 year old brother
What other families should know
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Great messages
Great role models

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