A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Monster Hunter Stories is a role-playing adventure game available for the Nintendo 3DS. The game is a "kid-friendly" spin-off of Capcom's popular Monster Hunter series of games. The game features a story focused on helping others and saving both the people and creatures of the world by building strong bonds of friendship. Younger players may need help with some of the more complex inventory and character management parts of the game, though it's something that can easily be picked up with practice. While players regularly do battle with strange creatures in the game, the violence is mild overall, with a lot of special effects and animation, but no blood or gore.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
MONSTER HUNTER STORIES introduces players to a whole new corner of the Monster Hunter universe. In the village of Hakum, the people are taught to live in harmony with the wild creatures of the land. Rather than taking on the role of Hunters, they are trained to become Riders, gifted with the ability to form special bonds of kinship with monsters. After helping to save the village from an attack by a Blight-infected creature, it falls to you to discover the source of this new threat. You'll find countless adventures as you travel to distant lands in your quest to uncover the source of the Blight, forming new friendships with human and monster alike along the way. You're not the only Rider out there, though. With local and online support, you can test your skills in multiplayer battles, pitting your best team of monsters against the Riders from across the globe.
Is it any good?
What kid hasn't thought about how much fun it would be to have a pet dragon as a best friend, or maybe to hitch a saddle up to a dinosaur and ride into the sunset? Monster Hunter Stories takes key elements from the Monster Hunter franchise, tosses in the creature capturing and team-up aspects of games like Pokémon, and wraps it all up in a style that looks like it's just waiting for an afternoon cartoon series. It's much more kid-friendly than the series is usually known for and a perfect entry-level game for newcomers, yet it still feels like a solid addition to the franchise as a whole.
The biggest change in Monster Hunter Stories is the player's role. Instead of being the equivalent of a fantasy big game hunter, you're teaming up with monsters that you've found and raised. There's so much focus on building bonds with your monsters that you can't help but look at them as more than just bad guys to fight. It's like going on an adventure with a beloved family pet … that happens to have scaly wings and giant teeth. Admittedly, there's a fair amount of repetition in the game, between traveling back and forth and fighting the same monsters for missions. But between local and online battles, gene splicing with other monsters, crafting equipment and items, and general exploration, there's still plenty to break up the monotony.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games. Does the more cartoonish, fantasy setting of a game like Monster Hunter Stories reduce the impact of the violence to younger gamers?
Talk about the relationship between people and animals. What are ways that animals benefit people in daily life?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: September 8, 2017
- Genre: Role Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.