Puppeteer Game Poster Image

Puppeteer

(i)

 

Learning(i)

Deeply imaginative platformer with some mild violence.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The rudimentary good-vs.-bad narrative isn't particularly enlightening, but the inventive puppet world in which the story takes place may set kids' imaginations alight with artistic ideas. Kids playing with the PlayStation Move controller (optional) to manipulate the environment may feel a deeper connection with this world.

Positive role models

The decidedly fantastical setting -- a stage filled with moving props -- and puppet characters will make it hard for kids to relate to the game's boy-turned-into-headless-puppet hero. That said, he seems a good sort. He doesn't talk, but it's obvious he simply wants to escape his captors and return to his old life.

Ease of play

A lengthy introduction walks players through all the basics. Platforming challenges will likely prove the most difficult part of the game for most kids, but things never get too hard. Plus, most levels are pretty short, meaning restarting an area doesn't mean losing a lot of progress.

Violence

The game's puppet-y hero can perish in traditional platformer ways, such as being touched by fire and falling through the bottom of the screen. He can fight back by jumping on enemies and sometimes uses his magic scissors to cut pieces -- like the claws off a giant cat -- from his foes. There is no blood or gore. 

Sex

Expect occasional light sexual references within the dialogue, including phrases like "loose women."

Language

One character uses the word "hell" in spoken dialogue.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

It's suggested that a group of dozing enemies may be intoxicated.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know Puppeteer is an imaginative action platformer in which players take on the role of a boy turned into a puppet who must contend with elaborately constructed obstacles on a stage that goes through frequent set changes. Violence is cartoonish and without any blood or gore, language is mild, and the few references to sexuality and alcohol that exist are infrequent and vague. This game supports use of the PlayStation Move wand peripheral, but it is not required. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Arts

  • playing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy

Creativity

  • imagination

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Lush graphics, simple controls, and a sense of whimsy will help draw kids into a weird and wonderful world of living puppets and the elaborate sets they inhabit.

Learning Approach

Beautiful art design, inventive levels, and unusual mechanics may help stimulate kids' imaginations and digital creativity by making them think about the artistic liberties permitted within virtual worlds.

Support

Kids will learn everything they need to play successfully via instructions provided within the game. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Arts

  • playing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy

Creativity

  • imagination

Kids can learn about imagination, strategy, and perhaps take an interest in the art of puppeteering in this visually impressive and highly inventive side-scrolling game. Creative kids may be inspired as they experience deeply original and ornate two-dimensional environments and come up with strategies for effectively navigating them. Some might even be spurred to go beyond the game to learn more about puppeteering. Puppeteer could spark artistic creativity within the kids who play it. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

Kids say

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What's it about?

PUPPETEER puts players in control of Kutaro, a boy turned into a puppet, who is on a quest to escape the grasp of the Moon Bear King. His puppet head is removed in the game's opening moments, forcing him to find replacements that confer various abilities as he journeys through fantastical environments set on a puppeteer's stage. He also quickly finds a pair of magical scissors that help him navigate his strange surroundings. He can use them to clip his way through objects, which means the shears act as a way to climb around obstacles and even eradicate some enemies. Throughout the adventure players can also control a second ghostly creature that hovers around the environment and investigate suspicious objects on set, shaking them to potentially reveal crystals or new heads.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Puppeteer shares elements of similarly imaginative games ranging from LittleBigPlanet to The Gunstringer, but in the end it's an experience all its own. The memorable puppeteer's stage setting has been wonderfully realized, with details such as curtains, stage boards, and the oohs and ahs of an invisible audience making it feel like the action might really be part of an elaborate puppet show. And the beautiful, sometimes nearly photorealistic graphics are delightful, helping fully transport players into this fantastical world.

Happily, the action is a match for the setting. Clipping your way around paper and cardboard environments and enemies is a novel way to navigate the world and fight boss battles. Using your ghostly kitty to explore and interact with surroundings is also fun. Puppeteer is not without fault -- frequent narrative scenes are sometimes overlong and intrusive, and Kutaro's head-swapping ability feels underused -- but the overall product is something that fans of platformers won't want to miss.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about fantasy. Settings like the one in this game may seem at first too far fetched to suspend the player's disbelief, and yet they can be deeply compelling. What elements are required to capture a player's attention and make them feel invested in such plainly fanciful stories and their equally unrealistic heroes?

  • Families can also discuss the art of the puppeteer. Have you ever tried to manipulate a stringed puppet? Do you think it would be hard to make its movements properly emulate those of a real person? Would you rather be the puppeteer or the person who crafts puppets and sets?

  • Do you think that this game is highly creative? Why or why not?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3
Price:$49.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date:September 10, 2013
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Magic and fantasy
ESRB rating:E10+ for Alcohol Reference, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes

This review of Puppeteer was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Educator and Parent Written bysleipnir March 25, 2015
LEARNING
The gameplay and plot are great, and I love it except for the end. It made me really sad. (Written by my 11-year old son)
What other families should know
Easy to play/use

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