Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals Game Poster Image
High-quality action RPG with some mild fantasy combat.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The game’s focus is to save the world from evil. Fighting makes up a significant portion of the action, but our enemies are clearly antagonistic and non-human. Puzzles play a role as well, forcing players to put on their thinking caps.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The protagonists are trying the save the world. They are clearly good and well-intentioned. They engage in combat, but only because they have to in order to save the planet.

Ease of Play

The controls are straightforward and there are several in-game tutorials that can be accessed from the in-game menu. If you are still having problems you can use a feature called “level boost” which will increase your characters’ skill level and make it easier to win in combat. This feature comes with no penalties, so there’s no reason for frustrated players not to take advantage of it.

Violence

Players use bladed weapons, various magical attacks, and ranged weapons such as boomerangs to fight fantastic creatures that disappear when defeated. There is no blood or gore, though players can earn an “overkill” bonus consisting of coins and additional experience if they keep attacking defeated foes.

Sex

Two of the game's protagonists express romantic feelings for each other.

Language

Text dialogue includes very infrequent, mild profanity of the “damn” and “hell” variety.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals is an action role-playing game with fairly mild fantastical combat and a heaping helping of puzzles; all suitable for the late tweens and early teens for which this game has been designed. It’s also a good bet for players of all skill levels, thanks to a feature that allows less experienced players to bump up their characters’ levels should they happen to run into trouble, ensuring they never become stuck and frustrated.

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What's it about?

The world is under attack by a being bent on world destruction in LUFIA: CURSE OF THE SINISTRALS, a retelling of the second chapter in the long-running Lufia series of role-playing games. The story begins with a single adventurer named Maxim but soon expands to include five more characters; three men and two women. Each has his or her own special attacks and abilities, and players can choose their equipment. Outside of combat, players will explore towns, chat with non-player characters, and figure out environmental puzzles that will require them to make use of their characters’ special abilities to progress, like latching a hookshot onto a post to cross a gap.

Is it any good?

This may be a remake of a sequel that came out 15 years ago but that’s no reason for younger players to avoid it; there are no vital connections to other entries in the franchise. Plus, it’s a good game. Polished polygonal graphics give depth to the game’s world, characters engage in intelligent and emotional dialogue, and a neat level boosting feature ensures less experienced players won’t get stuck on harder battles.

The sole weak spot may be combat. Simply jamming on buttons to repeatedly attack foes can get a little repetitive. However, the game’s frequent environmental puzzles serve as a nice break between fights, forcing players to stop and think rather than just constantly attack. Much of what’s here will probably feel a bit derivative to genre veterans, but that doesn’t mean it’s not well executed. Action RPG lovers will be well served.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about fantasy violence. Why is it generally less scary and disturbing to fight and dispatch amorphous blobs, floating insects, and horned beasts in a game like this than it is to fight human foes in other games? What does it mean to kill a monster in a game as opposed to a person?

  • Families can also discuss game difficulty. Do you feel more satisfied if you beat a really hard game? Or would you prefer to be able to ramp down the level of challenge if you get stuck? Do you feel like games should be about overcoming hunkering-down adversity or just kicking back and relaxing?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
  • Price: $39.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Natsume
  • Release date: October 12, 2010
  • Genre: Role-Playing
  • ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence, Mild Language

For kids who love role playing games

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