A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about strategy and building friendships while playing this all-ages fantasy role-playing game. Combat starts out simple but gradually ramps up in difficulty, forcing players to carefully examine their Pokemon's abilities and their stock of usable items as they come up with tactics to defeat opposing monsters. Beyond combat, kids are likely to share parts of their experience with others both inside and outside the game, growing friendships in the process. Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Pokemon Omega Ruby can provide important socializing opportunities for young players while fostering strategic thinking.
Patience and perseverance pay off. Helping people in need is noble, rewarding. Potentially troubling ideas about training creatures to fight each other, though they never kill or seriously injure one another.
Positive Role Models
Your character helps others and takes active interest in growing as a person and trainer. Other characters range from kindly mentors and friends to rivals who want to defeat you.
Ease of Play
Combat and exploration start very easy and slowly ramp up in complexity, difficulty. Younger kids may have a tough time progressing through later areas.
Violence & Scariness
Fantasy creatures battle one another from a distance with magical and physical attacks. Defeated Pokemon "faint"; there's no death, blood, or permanent injury.
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Products & Purchases
Part of Nintendo's wildly popular Pokemon series. Associated toys, TV shows, games, and films.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Pokemon Omega Ruby are remakes of a pair of Pokemon games from 2002. Combat remains the same as it has throughout the series: Fantasy creatures battle each other with a mix of physical and magical attacks but never make visible contact with each other. Hits are registered with flashes and sound effects, and defeated Pokemon simply faint; none are killed or even seriously hurt. The upbeat narrative sees a cast of mostly positive characters helping each other and working hard to become better trainers, though a few mean-spirited rivals are encountered along the hero's journey. The game includes online features that let kids connect to the web and swap data with and battle other players, though these can be turned off in the game settings.
Is It Any Good?
Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Pokemon Omega Ruby are aimed at two groups of gamers: kids too young to have experienced the original editions and young adults with fond memories of months spent playing these games as kids. Both are well served. Kids get to experience these RPG classics in a pair of games that feel fresh and modern; they're the equal of anything available for 3DS in terms of graphics, interface, and mechanics. Even the narrative, which has been augmented via dialogue additions to help flesh out the story, holds up quite well compared to more recent Pokemon games. Older players, meanwhile, will experience both nostalgia and surprise -- including a special costume-wearing Pikachu and, later in the game, the ability to fly anywhere in Hoenn.
If there's a downside, it's simply that the original games' faults have been carried forward. Traveling between areas early on can be a bit of a chore, since it requires Pokemon equipped with specific abilities. And there are still an awful lot of water-based Pokemon compared to those of other elements, which can grow frustrating. Still, Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Pokemon Omega Ruby are considered classics for a reason, and these new editions ought to please Pokemon fans of all ages.
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