PowerUp Heroes

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
PowerUp Heroes Game Poster Image
Kinect fighter has players mimick aggressive motions.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

This game promotes physical activity via motion controlled avatar movement. However, all of the player's movements are focused on fighting.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The player takes on the role of an average person who dons special suits that confer the power to battle planet-invading enemies. Primary characters include the player's speechless avatar and a procession of humanoid enemies that he or she must battle. All of them express themselves almost solely through battle.

Ease of Play

Movements required to carry out attacks are displayed on screen and in order, so the player need not memorize specific combinations. However, the skill of the player's computer controlled opponents, though minimal to start, rises quickly. Plus, we found that some movements -- particularly blocking attacks -- weren't always swift to register with the Kinect camera, which could prove frustrating in the heat of battle.  

Violence

Players fight humanoid opponents by making punching and kneeing movements, which are mimicked by their onscreen avatars. They can also carry out several fantasy attacks designed to mimic those of super heroes, raising and lowering their arms in specific ways to lash out with energy, create damaging vortexes, and cause environmental objects to be hurled at their opponents. There is no blood or gore, but motion control makes the fighting more immersive.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that PowerUp Heroes is a relatively mild fighting game for kids that requires the Xbox 360 Kinect sensor. Battles see players kicking, punching, and moving their arms and bodies in specific ways to carry out fantastical energy attacks. The bloodless action is tame compared to fighting games geared for older audiences, but the act of physically striking out creates a more immersive experience and could make some players feel more aggressive. Parents should also note that this game can be played online with strangers, though it doesn't support the console's communication features.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 year old Written bymichelhays August 6, 2012

NOTE: Contains a character from Assassin's Creed II, an M-Rated game

We have a hard time with violent video games, because at 12 years old, a certain level of violent play is expected among boys. My son wants to participate, but... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old February 4, 2012

GrEat

this is great! really fun game. i don't have it but i played it at my friend's house

What's it about?

POWERUP HEROES makes players the world's last hope against a group of planetary invaders. A lone hero crash lands on Earth just ahead of the menace and passes on his power suit to the player, explaining that a desperate fight against a villain known as Malignance is about to begin. You then take on Malignance's minions one by one in battles consisting of three-rounds, earning new suits and a variety of power-ups as the game progresses. What sets PowerUp Heroes apart from other tween-oriented fighters is that players use their bodies to control the action, punching and kneeing the air to land blows on their virtual opponents and making simple arm movements to carry out a variety of fantastical attacks. Outside of the campaign, players can practice their moves, take on a friend in the same room with both players facing the screen (be careful to stand well apart from each other!), and battle both friends and strangers online.

Is it any good?

PowerUp Heroes begins with an interesting concept -- a more or less traditional fighting game designed to allow players to act out their avatar's moves in real space -- but never really takes off. Part of the blame has to do with its simplistic single- and multi-player modes, as well as its sleek but flavorless visual design. The story is pretty much non-existent, the campaign offers little variety, and the graphics feel decidedly plain.

However, a bigger problem is that the motion controls don't feel quite right. The Kinect camera is slow to pick up on some movements -- particularly blocks -- and the pace of battles seems too slow, mostly because it takes a lot longer to carry out series of physical movements than it would to press a few buttons. The potential for a good Kinect fighting game is here, but it's never realized.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about motion control. Do you feel a psychological or emotional difference when you make physical punching and kicking movements as opposed to simply pressing buttons? Is one form of control more immersive than the other?

  • Families can also discuss online safety. What precautions do you take when encountering strangers online? What would you do if you thought you ran into a cyber-bully?

Game details

  • Platforms: Xbox 360
  • Price: $49.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Microsoft Studios
  • Release date: October 18, 2011
  • Genre: Fighting
  • Topics: Superheroes
  • ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes

Themes & Topics

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