A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The games heroes are trying to stop "pinchers" (i.e. poachers) from capturing Pokémon creatures from the wilderness. The good guys get Pokémon to join them by befriending them. The dialogue speaks frequently of "showing friendship" to the Pokémon in order to win them over. Any time a creature helps the heroes, it is thanked.
Positive Role Models
The heroes are selfless and generous, and extremely well-mannered -- they always say "thank you" after a Pokémon helps them out. They are motivated by the cause of protecting nature and wildlife.
Ease of Play
Simplified controls make this a very easy game through which newcomers can enter the Pokémon universe. There are thorough tutorials to explain every action you may need to take during the course of the game.
Violence & Scariness
Players "capture" Pokemon creatures by circling them with the stylus. The creatures may fight back with fire bursts, electricity, wind blasts, etc., but your character is never hurt by these -- only the "capture styler" (i.e. your stylus) is damaged. If a friendly Pokemon is helping you in the fight, it can get hit by an attack, too, making it run away.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Pokemon is a massive media franchise, with more books, games, toys, and TV shows than you can count. This particular game will allow you to transfer (via WiFi) special collectible creatures into other DS Pokemon games.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs focus on a heroic story and be-kind-to-wildlife theme rather than on the fighting that is normally associated with Pokemon games. In this game, "friendship" is the hero's greatest power -- and the good guys win Pokemon creatures to their side by projecting friendliness toward them. There are some actual battles in the game, between the heroes and the Pokemon that are being mind-controlled by the bad guys, but even in the end of those fights, the defeated creatures simply run off (and can later be "befriended" as well). This is a very kind and gentle action game.
Is It Any Good?
Kids who are new to the Pokemon universe -- or those intimidated by the scores of stats and attributes that you usually need to keep track of in those games -- will find Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs to be an excellent entry point into the series. Its simplified, action-based format for battles can be easily learned by almost anyone. It's possible that hardcore Pokemon fans will find this new format too simple, but hopefully they'll look at it as a refreshing change of pace -- as it is a truly different style of gameplay. Whether rookie or veteran, players should definitely be drawn in by the deep and compelling story. And the collection aspect -- always a key point with Pokemon fans -- is still there, with over 300 species of creatures to find and interact with.
Online interaction: Kids can download and play new missions that will become available over time.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.