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 is a game meant to be played over a year's time with kids checking in to play a little bit each week. The gameplay is tied to the internal clock of the DS, with certain events activating once a day or once a week. Some of the characters talk about cheating in school, and gossiping is a theme in the game. There are consequences for bad actions in the game so that depending on how much you gossip and how snarky you are to others, your status in the game may be impacted. There is mild flirting between the characters and some magic is performed in a bathroom. One spell can force another to pass gas. This game can be played with others over Nintendo Wi-Fi or the Internet but only if both own the game and "Friend Codes" have been exchanged offline.
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What's it about?
There is a new wizard-in-training and it is not Harry Potter. It's you -- if you check out Konami's MAGICIAN'S QUEST MYSTERIOUS TIMES. In this life simulation game, you enter the game as either a girl or boy student enrolled in Magic School. As a magician-in-training, you attend classes in the school, talk with your fellow students, shop in the town, and explore the lands surrounding the school while perfecting your magical abilities. Once a week, a "Mystery Time" occurs in which a new creature appears who needs your help and other strange and wondrous things occur.
This game plays differently from most because it is tied to real time and is designed to be played slowly over a year. For example, you can only take one class in each subject per 24-hour period. Also, only one of the game's 52 mysterious events appear per week. The real time aspect also shows up in the details of the game; so that, if you are playing at night, it will be dark in the game. You will notice that the weather varies, as do the seasons.
Is it any good?
The game is quite charming with its colorful graphics that span both of the DS screens, and constantly changing music. While the game's content unfolds slowly over time, there is always plenty to do including collecting mushrooms, seedlings, flowers, and insects to turn in for money; fishing; practicing magic (including doing incantations that change the way other characters feel about you); creating clothing designs; and talking (and gossiping) with others to make friendships. You can even play with friends if you both own the game and you have exchanged "friend codes" in person.
But this isn't a good fit for kids who like action in their games. There is a fair amount of wandering around waiting for mysterious events to occur.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this game is tied to real time. Do you like that you can only take certain classes per day and that a mystery only occurs once a week? Are you tempted to turn forward the clock so that you can see the new content or are you willing to wait? Is gossip in this game like it is in real life?
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