A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
POKEMON ALPHA SAPPHIRE and POKEMON OMEGA RUBY are remakes of the original Pokemon Sapphire and Pokemon Ruby, the two best-selling Pokemon games of all time. The games' story focuses on a main character -- a boy or girl, according to player preference -- who's just arrived in the Hoenn Region. The hero quickly meets a professor who sets him or her on the Pokemon trainer's path, a journey that involves traveling around a large map searching for countless Pokemon to capture, train, and pit in battle during competitions with rivals. Both games have received much-needed graphical upgrades that visually bring them on par with the more recent Pokemon X and Pokemon Y. The new games also have a few surprises in store, including a new side quest with an original character, X- and Y-inspired mega evolutions for select Pokemon, online functionality, and fresh tools such as the DexNav, a way of tracking and searching for specific Pokemon in each area you visit.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violent content in Pokemon Alpha Sapphire/Pokemon Omega Ruby. What are your thoughts on using Pokemon for battle? Is it an OK way to resolve conflict? What might other options be?
Talk about responsible pet training and ownership. What are some important things to teach pets? What are some things you should never teach pets? Do you think of Pokemon as pets and trainers as pet owners? If not, what category do they fall into?
Discuss online safety. What are some of the rules your family has for safe online interactions? Why do you think parents create these rules?
Talk about branding and franchises. If you weren't interacting with and collecting recognizable Pokemon characters, but a group of random characters, would you still play the game? Did you want to play the game because it featured Pokemon? What makes them so popular and engaging?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading comprehension
Hobbies: collecting, pets
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: collecting data, strategy
Communication: friendship building
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: November 21, 2014
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.