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 delightful and engaging E-rated game is too hard for young kids. Even if they could play, some of the items you need to make your defenses are too small for even an adult to latch onto with the DS stylus. The game has very mild fantasy violence in the form of punching and detonating bombs as the main character strives to protect his hometown from the invasion of baddies.
What's it about?
LOCK'S QUEST is a sheer joy to play. Made by the same thoughtful developers who brought you Drawn to Life last year, this deep and satisfying game features young Lock, an "archineer" who's part architect and part engineer. Lock's placid seaside village has been safe for years from marauding Clockworks, soldier enemies of varying strength. But no longer. Lock must save his kingdom from wave after wave of Clockworks by building towers, walls, and weapons.
You'll use the DS touch screen constantly as you put together various pieces to make walls, towers, and weapons. Initially, you'll deal with a touching, dramatic story as you get a half-hour-long, interactive tutorial on how to build and protect your town. This tower defense-type of game goes beyond strategy to include role playing elements. Not only do you build strong structures, as you kill off attacking soldiers, you level up (get more powerful) as well. And as you get rid of Clockworks, you get money called Source, which you employ to build more structures. There's a lot here!
Is it any good?
Admittedly, there's no audio conversation in the game, and the graphics are of low quality. But as you read through the story and deal with its plot points, you easily get sucked in, perhaps in part because of the heart-tugging music. When Lock's sweet little sister gets lost, you feel it in your gut.
Lock's Quest may be rated 'E', but it's for an older kid. That's because the items, sometimes millimeters in length, may be too tiny for kids to pick up and use, even with the DS stylus. Plus, the difficulty level of the strategy you must use ramps up appreciably in the later levels. Still, there's so much game here -- over 100 quests. And some can be played with one another person using the DS' local wireless multiplayer ability.
If you like tower defense games on the DS, this is the first. You can keep an eye out for another anticipated tower defense game which is coming in fall 2008 called Ninjatown.
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