A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while the design, setting, and accoutrements of Medieval Games are farcically fun, like the Shrek movies, the gameplay itself leaves much to be desired. Kids could easily get discouraged and quit the game. For children who can get past that, though, Medieval Games does tap into a lot of elements that fantasy-loving children enjoy. The fighting in the game is cartoonish as worst. There's also much ado about beauty as the prince seeks a bride and the king holds a pageant from which a new wife will be chosen.
What's it about?
While essentially a collection of sword-and-sorcery-themed mini-games, MEDIEVAL GAMES also contains three storybook "board games." Players roll dice and move around a gameboard, a la Mario Party, playing the mini-game directed by the space they land on. Each of these storybook games tells a chapter of the main story: The prince of Veloria is required by law to marry, so his father the king sets up various festivals and tournaments, through which he plans to find him a suitable bride. The mini-games try to hit as many fairy-tale staples as possible. Some examples include, using a battering ram, archery, sword dueling, jousting, dodging an ogre's hammer, mixing potions, and wrestling pigs (okay, that last one's not much of a staple).
Is it any good?
There is potential for Medieval Games to be a fun party experience, but only when the mini-games are played individually. That way, players can avoid the ones with near-unusable controls. Unfortunately, many of the games need to be unlocked through playing the three "board games." The biggest problem with the board games is repetition. Each one uses only 3 or 4 of the minigames, meaning the players end up racing horses or shooting arrows at fruit over and over again in the course of a single game. It's probably best to try the game first with a rental, to see if you're intrigued enough to want more.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the use of caricatures in the game. Are these characters realistic in any way? Can you relate to them? Do you think we're meant to admire these characters, or laugh at them?
Parents can also discuss good sportsmanship. When playing with others, how can you be competitive and still be a good friend?
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