A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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.
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 & Scariness
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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Expect occasional light sexual references within the dialogue, including phrases like "loose women."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
One character uses the word "hell" in spoken dialogue.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
It's suggested that a group of dozing enemies may be intoxicated.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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.
Is It Any Good?
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.
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.