Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Common Sense Media says

Repetitive fantasy combat mars popular book remake.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

This is a game about non-stop combat, so while there is a message about being brave and heroic, the main message is to fight you way through things.

Positive role models

While Percy and his friends are noble heroes, one friend deceives them. Their methods of heroic always involve some sort of combat and the infliction of magical attacks.

Ease of play

The game uses the stylus for selecting your attacks, and scrolling through menus to upgrade your skills. It is all pretty straightforward. None of you enemies are very difficult to defeat.


Most of your time spent in this role-playing game will be in combat. But it is turned-based combat where you decide which attack to use on your opponents and then you watch a video of your character doing the action you selected. You will also watch as opponents attack you. Attacks include swipes with swords (no blood, just grunts), burning with fire, knock-outs with powerful jets of water, stunning, poisoning, and sending a barrage of shrapnel. You and your opponents are simply knocked to the ground. Opponents can include scary-looking Hell Hounds, Furies, undead, skeletons, aberrations, Hades, Medusa, Minotaur, and many other Greek mythological characters.

Not applicable

Percy will use words like "crap" and demigods will issue taunts at each other.


This game is based on the movie and book of the same name.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One scene takes place in a casino in Las Vegas where kids are given a drug (Lotus leaves) to keep them "happy."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief is a role-playing/fighting game based on the movie of the same name and the first book in the Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series. While the game has kids read about the story, all of the game play is turned-based combat – and there is a lot of it. As the strategist of all fights, kids will plot out what magical attacks their group of characters will engage in as they fight Minotaurs, Hades, Medusa, the undead, Hell Hounds, Furies, and other Greek mythological creatures. Kids will watch the attack animations show swords being swung, water geysers erupting, fire burning characters and foes, and other fantastical attacks; but no blood is shown and the injured simply fall down. Early on, Percy Jackson's mother appears to have died.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

In PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF, kids control Percy Jackson, a 12-year-old boy who discovers an alternative reality where Greek Gods and mythological creatures walk amongst us. Percy finds out that his father is Poseidon, the God of the Sea, which makes him a demigod and explains his special powers of controlling water. Percy and a group of demigod friends go on a quest to rescue Percy's mother from Hades and retrieve a lightning bolt belonging to Zeus. As players move from New York to California, they must fight Greek mythological creatures every step of the way, and eventually fight stronger foes including the Gods themselves. These fights are turned-based and winning means your fighters get stronger and earn new magical attacks.

Is it any good?


Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief offers a deep combat system which uses some of the god-like skills discussed in Rick Riordan's books. It is a game about the strategy of how you use your group of demigods to defeat supernatural foes. You need both healers and attackers to survive.

But the problem is that this game is a one-pony show. The constant turn-based battling just gets old. And most of your enemies just aren't that tough, even though they may be Greek Gods. The book  on which this game is based is rich with clever and exciting ideas about how the Greek Gods are a part of the world as we know it. Too bad this game fails to enthrall the way the book did.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what parts of this book/movie you would have included in the video game. Why do companies create video games based on popular books/movies?

  • Did this game adequately transfer the book or movie for you? Have you read the book or seen the movie?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
Available online?Not available online
Release date:February 9, 2010
Genre:Role Playing
Topics:Magic and fantasy
ESRB rating:E10+ for Fantasy Violence (Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi)

This review of Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old March 31, 2012

Doesn't stay true to the books

no lasting appeal,fun, or anything i completed it in 3 days (limited time on DS)
Teen, 13 years old Written byAnabel Noches January 17, 2015

You Got Framed!

I thought that this book was very unique and original. I like how the book deals with the gods and their half-blood kids. I like how the Percy and his friends go on many adventures and meet new people along the way. Percy founds out that Zeus' lightning bolt is stolen and he is put to blame. He was able to survive as a twelve year old and have fun the same time. This book is very interesting and knows how to tell a good story. I personally think the book is more detailed and better than the movie. I extremely recommend the book. The book is appropriate for ages nine and up because it is a very fun story to be told. I chose to rate this book four stars because it is entertaining and it leads you on wanting to read every chapter after a chapter.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old April 26, 2014

Lightning in a bottle

This was the best book I have ever read, the minute I read the first chapter I was hooked. However, this book does have a little violence, (it isn't anything you can't handle.) I am a HUGE chicken when it comes to any scariness, and this book isn't scary at all. This book is so good it keep me turning pages at 1:45 in the morning.
What other families should know
Great role models


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