A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
What's it about?
OPEN SEASON for the Nintendo DS is based on the film of the same name, and features Boog the bear and Morris the deer, plus a liberal sprinkling of squirrels, rabbits, skunks, ducks, and other forest denizens. The game is loosely based on the movie, with Boog and Morris attempting to find their way back to their happy home in Timberline after Boog was kicked out for trashing a convenience store. Along the way the buddies have to get past nutty squirrels, natural hazards, and gun-toting hunters.
The game is divided into puzzle-based levels, each featuring multiple paths through the forest. Players must figure out how to get past obstacles like raised platforms, chasms, tall boulders, and acorn-throwing squirrels. Players must use logic and teamwork as they figure out when to have Boog throw Morris at things to activate or open them. Likewise, sometimes only Morris is able to jump high enough to get around certain obstacles.
Is it any good?
While the game controls are easy, the difficulty lies in figuring out the puzzles. Most require players to decide which path and accompanying puzzle to solve first, in order to open up subsequent paths. The quality of the graphics is very good -- everything is crisp and well defined, with good lighting.
Open Season is a very enjoyable game, with thought-provoking puzzles, items to smash, collectibles, and silly humor. This DS version is superior to the console version, due to the emphasis on puzzle solving, a better environmental design, and a more forgiving health system. Although Boog and Morris can collapse after losing their health, they will start over again at the most recent checkpoint with renewed health -- a definite plus for younger players. The "save" feature of the interface is annoying, though, as it only saves at the end of the level, not the checkpoints.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difference between the cartoon guns in this game and real ones. They can also talk about Boog and Morris' friendship. Does their friendship get stronger when they're down and out? How does their teamwork help them out? How does it help you solve the puzzles in this game?
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