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What's it about?
Armchair adventurers on the move – perhaps while passing time on trains, planes or in the back of automobiles – will likely enjoy tapping through PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FALLEN KING, Ubisoft's new side-scrolling action game for the Nintendo DS. With a storyline that takes after (yet complimentary to) the new Prince of Persia game for TVs and PCs, players continue their fight to defeat the malevolent god Ahriman and get rid of the black evil substance, Corruption, that has seeped over the land since Ahriman escaped imprisonment. Throughout most of the game, the prince is joined by the Magus, Zal, and can sometimes switch between the agile prince and this mysterious magic wielder to solve puzzles, explore the more than 50 maps, and battle enemies and boss creatures. Naturally, we learn the prince and his newfound ally share some common history together, but we won't give away much detail here.
As with all previous Prince of Persia games spanning the last 20 years, this pint-sized and smoothly-animated cartoon hero is incredibly agile with dozens of acrobatic moves an adept sword techniques at his disposal. Players use the Nintendo DS's stylus pen (or fingertip) to master these manoeuvres which feel natural and effective, when it works – which is most of the time -- while in other cases, particularly during combat, doesn't seem responsive or accurate enough.
Is it any good?
While not perfect, or as good as its console and PC counterparts, this attractive and accessible hack n' slash cartoon game is a decent digital diversion to lose yourself for a few minutes or hours at a time. Magical effects as the Magus look impressively powerful and compliment the prince's melee moves. The indoor and outdoor locations, such as dark caves and sprawling cities, are varied and great-looking but sometimes suffer from slow frame rates when a lot of action is seen at the same time. These levels also feature many environmental puzzles which need to be solved in order to forge ahead with your noble goal.
Prince of Persia: The Fallen King is a decent side-scrolling action game that's easy on the eyes and fun to control for the most part, but it won't go down as one of the best of 2008. This good – but not great – adventure should, however, satiate fans of the series.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Ubisoft decided to use a cute cartoon fighter for this portable game instead of the older, muscular, and more brutal hero in the console and PC version of Prince of Persia? What did you like best about the game? Fighting with a sword in dramatic ways? Using magic? Or solving the puzzles.
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