A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
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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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3
- Subjects: Arts: playing
- Skills: Creativity: imagination
Thinking & Reasoning: strategy
- 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
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.