Beautiful and fun
Okami is one of my favorite games of all time. You play Amaterasu, a goddess in the form of a wolf. The world has been destroyed by an evil monster, and your job is to restore life to the world and defeat the monster (and some other monsters who happen along later). You accomplish this by traveling around and unlocking puzzles with your celestial brush, which allows you to paint your way to a goal. You will fight enemies with a combination of upgradable weapons, power-ups, and celestial brush. Some of the brush strokes are tricky at first, but it doesn't take long to get the hang of them. There are numerous mini-games, too. In this respect, Okami has been likened to some of the Legend of Zelda games. The graphics are absolutely beautiful, and some of the effects are breathtaking. I enjoyed the music, for the most part. Many of the characters may seem annoying at first (especially since their voices are gibberish), but they grow on you. The gameplay is fun, though it can get repetitive (it gets a lot more fun once you unlock the fire brushstroke). Many enemy types are recycled, including the bosses. Power-ups are plentiful, so you will rarely die, yet when I played I still felt there was sufficient challenge and satisfaction from a battle well fought or a puzzle finally unlocked. Battles are pitched, so in many cases you can avoid them or seek them out as needed. There is a lot of land to traverse, but your character Amaterasu can run very fast at top speed (with flowers springing up in her wake), and there are numerous portals you can unlock to warp from place to place. I set the age at ten because it may be too difficult for younger players, and there is some very mild sexual innuendo and scatological humor. There is a lot of fighting, and a lot of enemies are sliced in two. Blood is minimal, usually limited to highly stylized cutscenes. If your children are used to bloodless cartoons and/or fairly young they may find it off putting. Despite the violence, I recommend this game as an alternative to the usual fare. In Okami the player will derive pleasure and satisfaction from restoring the world rather than destroying it. I felt good after playing Okami. If you are considering this game for younger kids, I recommend renting it and either playing it yourself, or watching another gamer play so you can see for yourself if it's appropriate for your children.