Playmobil Pirates

Common Sense Media says

Toy-based game has surprisingly inappropriate material.

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Typical good and bad connotations are flipped (pirates and smugglers are the heroes, soldiers are the villains), meaning that authority is flouted and fought against. This is rationalized in the story by having characters explain that these are bad soldiers. Also, gambling is encouraged as a way to make money. 

Positive role models

Although the protagonist performs several selfless acts during the game (rescuing shipwrecked pirates, saving a captured mermaid, etc.), he gambles, fights (and apparently kills) soldiers, and aids rum smugglers. Good as his intentions may be, he's still a pirate.

Ease of play

Controls are simple to learn and generally easy to handle. The main exception is the unbalanced difficulty in swordfighting against gun-weilding soldiers.

Violence & scariness

The player's pirate uses a sword to slash and stab at pirate-hunting soldiers (who are out to steal Blackbeard's gold). In addition to swords of their own, the soldiers use guns against the player as well. Characters who are hurt cry out, and those who are "killed" disappear from the screen. In naval battles, ships fire cannonballs and sink one another. Your pirate can also get stung by jellyfish.

Language

Seeming very out of place in a Playmobil game, the words "damn" and "hell" appear in written dialogue.

Consumerism

Every character and vehicle in the game is styled after Playmobil toys and the Playmobil name is, of course, right there in the title.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while Playmobil Pirates is an enjoyable adventure game starring cute Playmobil figures, there is a lot of very un-cute behavior in it -- fighting, gambling, drinking, mild swearing, and so on. None of it is worse than what you might see on television, and most of it would be expected in a game based on pirates, but as a game based on a toy series that is generally aimed at much younger kids, the salty elements can come as a real surprise.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's it about?

Captain One-Eye, the hero of PLAYMOBIL PIRATES, is a down-on-his-luck bucaneer who witnesses the kidnapping of a mermaid by corrupt soldiers and vows to rescue her. He must then journey from island to island, hunting down pieces of a treasure map that will help him find Blackbeard's treasure, which he can then use to buy a seacraft powerful enough to take on the soldiers' warship. Along the way, there are many mini-missions, including deep sea diving, tossing life preservers to shipwrecked pirates, gambling with skeletons, and engaging in trading games to earn money. The sea is open for exploration, allowing players to wander away from the linear storyline whenever they want to.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 
As a pirate game, Playmobil Pirates, scores on many levels -- the storyline is original and intriguing, the seafaring exploration is enticing, the minigames are almost all a lot of fun. As a Playmobil game, though, it gives a parent pause, seeming far more mature than the average Playmobil fan. Rum, for instance, may be a big part of real pirate lore, but couldn't they have at least called it "grog" in the game? And when a line like, "Ask him where the damned wood is!" pops up, you have to wonder what they were thinking. In the end, Playmobil Pirates is a good game marketed to the wrong audience. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can discuss the ethics of a game in which authority is challenged by the "heroes." The pirates engage in criminal behavior, but they also perform heroic and selfless acts. The soldiers, who are normally seen as heroes, are here presented as kidnappers and thieves. Can we root for heroes who break rules and laws?

  • Parents can also talk to their children about gambling. What are the dangers of gambling? While it's possible to win big while gambling in the game, it's also possible to lose all the money you've worked to collect. Is gambling worth the risk? What about gambling in real life? Why is gambling in the real world illegal in most places?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
Price:$19.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Dreamcatcher
Release date:December 28, 2009
Genre:Action/Adventure
ESRB rating:E10+ for Alcohol Reference, Mild Cartoon Violence, Mild Language, Simulated Gambling (Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi)

This review of Playmobil Pirates was written by

About our rating system

  • 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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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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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Parent of a 7 year old Written bymotoMomma January 2, 2011
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

"Awesome pirate game" my boy says.

My 7 yr old loved this game. Plays with his Playmobile pirates so he was excited to play the game. He definitely had moments of frustration for sure when an expensive ship got sunk but then he'd have to be patient and save for future ship purchases. He says too he developed "strategies" to sink ships. (He's looking over my shoulder)! So some good proud learning moments. ;)

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