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 HeartGold and Pokemon SoulSilver are two slightly different versions of the same game. Each version contains some exclusive creatures that kids can "capture" and then trade with friends who also have one of the games. These games also come with a new peripheral called the Pokewalker, which is essentailly a pedometer that kids use. Kids are rewarded for walking with the Pokewalker, but they can also use the pocket-sized device to connect with friends for more Pokemon battling and trading. This game has a very high appeal to kids, so parents need to be sure their children won't sneak Pokemon action in where they're not supposed to.
What's it about?
Whether you play POKEMON SOULSILVER or POKEMON HEARTGOLD, your story will center around a young Pokemon trainer exploring his (or her) world to help a scientist find new species of Pokemon. At the same time, the young trainer will enter into Pokemon fighting leagues and battle tournaments. Players can transfer one of their captured Pokemon into the accompanying Pokewalker peripheral (a pedometer that connects to your DS) to take with them and continue to train even when not playing with the main DS game. Pokemon can earn experience points from going on a walk with the player in the real world.
Is it any good?
Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver are just as good as any previous titles from the main line of Pokemon games. They look, sound, and play almost exactly the same way those earlier incarnations did. Yet, while there's not much in the way of startlingly new gameplay, Pokemon fans will certainly get a whole lot more of what they're looking for and love about playing these games. Kids who have only a passing interest in Pokemon and who have played any of the last few years' Pokemon titles might find these new ones a bit repetitive, but they do make excellent jumping on points for kids who are new to the Pokemon world. Also, kudos are due for the inclusion of the Pokewalker, which adds an interesting -- and healthy! -- new level to Pokemon gaming.
Online interaction: Kids can trade captured Pokemon. This encourages interaction between friends.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the benefits of using the Pokewalker add-on. The Pokewalker is not necessary for playing these games, so why use it? Does it actually encourage kids to walk more? Instead of driving, will your children walk or ride a bike to, say, a friend's house if they know they could increase their Pokemon's power by doing so?
Families can also talk about how to limit the time kids can play this game so that a reasonable amount is the norm.
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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.