A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this Kinect version of Puss in Boots requires players to physically mimic a lot of fighting motions. The sword battles here are all played for laughs and the violence is very cartoony, but enemies will be slashed, kicked, clawed, knocked over walls, smashed over the head with guitars, and more. Be aware that, as Puss, you will also have to woo and serenade female cats, though it's far more silly than sexy. Versions of the game also exist for the Wii and PS3, and while both of those also use motion controls, the movement is contained to one hand, creating a very different and less visceral experience.
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What's it about?
In PUSS IN BOOTS, the swashbuckling title cat teams up with Humpty Dumpty and another \"cat burglar\" to steal magic beans from thieves Jack and Jill. His plan is to climb the magic beanstalk and steal golden eggs from the castle in the clouds in order to repay the villagers he was tricked into robbing years earlier. The adventure involves many sword duels, acrobatic jumping sequences, and sneaky stealth missions as the heroes work their way across old-timey Mexico and the American Southwest.
Is it any good?
It's easy to appreciate the creativity that went into crafting Puss in Boots, as well as the clever use of the Kinect full-body motion controls. The ways in which you can dispose of enemies during fights are often hilarious, like triggering a giant fish to fall on one or knocking one headfirst into a rain barrel. And performing such feats is made fun and easy when all you need to do is hop to the side to position the bad guy where you want him and then thrust your foot forward to send him tumbling backward into the trap you've set.
But the game is far from all fighting, which is why it ends up being so enjoyable. You need to tiptoe to sneak past enemies -- and freeze in place when needed, like an impromptu game of "Red Light, Green Light." You need to jump and climb with expert timing through plentiful acrobatic sections. You will have to pull off some lightning quick poses in a dance battle that is so funny, you may end up losing just because you're laughing. All in all, the Kinect controls -- used to great advantage here -- make Puss in Boots a very fun ride.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the fighting in the game. Does the violence have more of an impact when you are physically performing the fighting moves for the Kinect sensor? Does the combat feel more real that way?
You can also discuss the moral questions raised in the story. Is it okay for Puss to steal from people he considers criminals?
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