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 virtual pet game/mini game collection centers entirely around circus elephants. Although the elephants in the game are cute and happy almost all the time, the entire idea of circus elephants can be a controversial one for some people. In the game, in addition to feeding, cleaning, and caring for the elephant, you will also dress her up and make her perform tricks. Families who are inherently against such things, then this game is not for them. There is nothing in the game that hints at abuse or mistreatment in any way, but the real life Ringling Bros circus -- and specifically the care of its elephants -- has been under scrutiny lately.
What's it about?
In RINGLING BROS. AND BARNUM & BAILEY CIRCUS FRIENDS: ASIAN ELEPHANTS, you are in charge of training one of the circus's famed pachyderms. You will interact with the animal by feeding it, playing with it, washing it, healing it (when sick), and yes, scooping its poop. Then you will train your happy elephant to perform various stunts and take your well-practiced show in front of the big top audience. Strangely, tricks are learned and performed by playing completely random logic, matching, and number games on the touch screen.
Is it any good?
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Friends: Asian Elephants is not a bad game by any means, but it is a strange one. It's fun to play with your elephant, learning the various signals you need to sketch out on the touchscreen in order to communicate to the animal to toot her trunk, stand up, or roll over. And it's also fun to purchase new outfits and dress up your elephant. Or to buy elephant toys that unlock mini games, such as a xylophone duel between you and the pachyderm. It's not nearly a much fun, though, to feed and clean your elephant, which has to be done pretty frequently. When it comes to performing, though, that's the really bizarre part. Instead of the different elephant stunts being tied to hand motions as was done with the playful interactions, they are connected to utterly random mini-games. For instance, to make the elephant hold up a sign, you have to play a matching memory game. To make her spin on a stool, you have to connect like-colored squares without crossing any of your lines. Some of these mini-games are fun and decent brainwork, but they have nothing to do with elephants.
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