Rango DS

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Rango DS Game Poster Image
Poor controls make an already tough game too hard.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The lines between good and evil are pretty clearly drawn. Rango puts the safety of the townspeople before his own safety.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rango is the sheriff in town, fighting to keep law and order. In the game, though, he resorts to physical combat a lot more than he does in the movie.

Ease of Play

The controls are poorly planned out. In order for Rango to use a different mode of attack -- like switching from his gun's ranged attack to melee hand-to-hand combat -- he needs to switch "roles" (i.e., change costumes). Having to do that in the middle of a heavy action sequence is overly demanding. Especially since it involves using your left hand to hold down the L button and press the directional pad at the same time. And enemies continue hitting you while you try to change. Also, there's no gradual increase in difficulty -- the game is just hard from the very first level.


The game is about one quarter exploration, three quarters fighting. The latter part consists of Rango dispatching enemy critters through either hand-to-hand combat or by blasting them with his cartoony "pea shooter." Enemies vanish when they are defeated.


The game is a tie-in to the animated film, Rango.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rango DS has far more violence than the film on which it's based. The fighting in the game may be less realistic here, but it's more frequent. There's a massive amount of reading required, and the vocabulary level is quite high. Also, the difficulty of the game makes it feel aimed more toward experienced gamers rather than young kids.

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What's it about?

RANGO DS tells of the further adventures of Rango, the city-slicker chameleon who becomes sheriff of a Wild West town in his eponymous film. Here, he vows to track down and take out the members of a gang of outlaws in order to bring peace and order back to the town of Dirt. There's a lot of move-along-and-fight action, as well as cave exploration, some animal-riding racing sequences, and a role-playing element that allows you to power up your character.

Is it any good?

Rango DS has the same type of depth and variety that helped make the Rango console game a fun experience, but its incredibly poor control scheme and way-too-high difficulty level make it a far less successful game than its counterpart. The idea of making Rango switch into different "roles" is an interesting one that fits the theme of the movie (since Rango was an actor in the film), but if you're shooting at some bad guys far away, and then they get too close to you and you need to start punching and kicking, you simply don't have time to call up a costume-swapping wheel on screen and pick the one that will allow you to perform melee combat. And it's all the worse that the button combination needed to search that swap wheel is an awkward one for your fingers to pull off. Also, with very tough, very frequent enemies, it would be nice if the game had more than one difficulty level.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in the game. Does it matter less because the characters are animals? Does switching from bullets to "peas" make the shooting less of an issue?

  • Did you want to play this game because you had seen the movie? Would you enjoy the game if you had not already seen the movie? Why do you think games are made that are based on movies?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action games

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