Puppet Fever

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Puppet Fever Game Poster Image
Puppet-themed party game delivers family friendly VR fun.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Encourages imagination and socialization by putting on a puppet show with other players. Highlights fun and playing with others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No one protagonist; you grab a puppet and act out a scene.

Ease of Play

Simple to pick up and play. One person wears the VR headset and the others watch the screen. Controlling puppets to put on a show is simple to pick up -- even for non-gamers.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Puppet Fever is a downloadable virtual reality (VR) social/party game for the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. The game is very similar to that of charades, in that players are challenged to put on a virtual puppet show. One player puts on the VR headset while the other players watch the screen and respond. While it sounds like it skews younger, and there isn't any controversial content to worry about, bear in mind that virtual reality equipment makers don't recommend VR experiences for kids under 12 due to the potential impact the technology may have on younger players' physiological development.

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What's it about?

PUPPET FEVER is a virtual reality (VR) game played for up to 4 players in the same location. Each person takes turns as the acting star of a virtual puppet theater. Like a game of charades, the other players must guess what scene you're acting out. When you don the VR headset, it'll look as if you're holding up puppets to an audience. Your job is to play out a scene with the puppets, with the actions supported by your voice. If you don't have anyone to play with, there are a few different "bot" players that can stand in if players want to practice or want a solo experience. The game starts with you choosing from one of 400 cards. Each card is randomly provided with acting instructions, such as a phrase, words, an event, or a film scene to act out. You can switch it out if you don't like it or if you've done it before. Puppet Fever includes two modes, hundreds of virtual puppets to choose from (each with multiple emotions to convey), 15 different categories, and five player avatar masks.

Is it any good?

For people who like party games with friends, this is a unique and fun experience for up to four players. In other words, whoever said VR was a solitary experience should give Puppet Fever a whirl. It's very much a local multiplayer game, where the VR player becomes the puppeteer, and everyone else looks to the computer monitor or TV to see what you're acting out, such as a scene from The Godfather. The other participants try to figure out what word/phrase or scene you're trying to act out with your flat, 2-D puppets. There's certainly a lot of variety to the puppets you can use, and there's different backdrops, like an alien world or ocean scene, to keep things interesting.

While it's great to see what kind of scene or phrase you'll draw next, it would be great if the developers added the option to write your own cards. For example, trying to act out a fun slang phrase like "lit," or a scene from a famous new movie would give the game much more replayability. But swapping out the headset with friends to take turns as the puppeteer adds a lot of fun to the experience that's simple to pick up. That said, there were a couple of small bugs tied to selecting menu items or when trying to "grab" your character with a pointer and move it around the play space. Also, it's too bad it's not available for PlayStation VR, as it could be more comfortable hanging around a big screen TV instead of a PC monitor. But, if you're having some friends over, Puppet Fever is worth some of your time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Parents can talk about setting screen limits. Does Puppet Fever make it easier to set screen limits because only one player is interacting with the game at a time, while everyone else watches? Is it harder because players have to wait for their turn, which can draw out play sessions?

  • Talk about games like Charades. Does virtual reality make this classic game more immersive than normal sessions of Charades? What does VR take away from this social experience?

  • Discuss pop culture. Puppet Fever pulls references from some popular films and phrases, but what if you or your friends don't know the subjects it mentions? Do you think there's a certain set of topics that everyone knows without confusion?

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