Rise of the Guardians
By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Santa wields sword in combat-heavy, RPG-like action game.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Rise of the Guardians wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.
This game suggests that childhood icons like Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy are something akin to action heroes who engage in frequent combat with the Boogeyman. Santa spends the entire game running around with a sword, chopping and hacking at enemies. It could play havoc with kids' images of these semi-hallowed figures.
Positive Role Models
The Guardians are all indisputably good, noble characters, but they engage in a lot more violence than you might expect. Whether they need to break someone out of a cage, save a friend from nightmare creatures, or just unlock a new teleportation location, their only solution is to fight it out.
Ease of Play
Use the control stick to move and one button to attack. That will get you through about 90 percent of the game. There are times when it helps to tap the special ability, combo attack, block, and dodge buttons, but they're generally not needed. Players of appropriate age shouldn't encounter too many problems.
Violence & Scariness
The game's mythical heroes wield various weapons, including a sword, a whip, and different sorts of magic, as they fight smoky, shadowy nightmare creatures of many forms, including horses, crabs, and some vaguely humanoid in shape. There is no blood or gore, and no one ever screams out, but the combat is virtually constant. It's pretty much all players do.
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Products & Purchases
This game is a product tie-in with the movie of the same name.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rise of the Guardians is based on the movie of the same name. It stars cartoonish, warrior-like versions of characters like the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny who do battle against the Pitch (the Boogeyman) and his army of shadowy nightmare creatures. Santa spends the entire game running around with a sword in his hand, slicing and chopping away at his foes. This game could play havoc with kids' images of these semi-hallowed figures. As the game progresses kids will dispatch thousands of enemies with various weapons and magic. There is no blood or gore, and the heroes never fight humans, but the combat is constant. There's virtually nothing else to do in the game, save try to figure out its labyrinthine levels.
Where to Play
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Rise of the Guardians
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What’s It About?
Based on the Dreamworks movie, RISE OF THE GUARDIANS is an action game starring Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, the Tooth Fairy, and Jack Frost in a fight against Pitch -- also known as the Boogeyman -- and his army of shadowy nightmare creatures. The Guardians, as they think of themselves, derive their power from the children who believe in them. They need to fight for kids' confidence in them by using swords, whips, and magic to defeat the smoky entities infesting their homes. Up to four players can play together at the same time (solo players can switch between characters at will), and all of the heroes slowly level up, gaining new abilities and powers as they dispatch baddies.
Is It Any Good?
Rise of the Guardians is essentially a dungeon crawler for kids, save that Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and Jack Frost are put in place of the usual elves, dwarves, and mages. It might seem a slight difference, but it feels significant when playing. Seeing Santa -- or "North," as he's called in the game -- running around and hacking away at spooky creatures with a sword seems like something better suited to an episode of South Park than a game for kids.
Story and characters aside, the game isn't half bad. The mazelike levels will test kids' navigational skills, and there are loads of items to collect and little objectives to complete (friends that need to be rescued from cages, pals that need to be kept safe from bad guys, etc.). Plus, a simple, intuitive leveling system, complete with growing attribute statistics, unlockable abilities, and skill-altering crystals provides a good reason to keep playing. It's all very basic stuff, but suitable for a first-time dungeon crawling experience. Too bad that Santa is the character whose attacks you're leveling up. That just seems wrong.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about violence in games. What's too much for your kids? Do they know when to pull back from things that may be too frightening for them? What signs do you watch for in determining whether something may be too intense?
Families can also discuss our evolving perceptions of well-known, beloved characters. What do you think of a game or movie portraying a figure like Santa as a sword-wielding action hero? In what ways might it alter your thoughts about who they are and what they represent?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
- Subjects: Social Studies: cultural understanding
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork, Thinking & Reasoning: strategy
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: D3Publisher of America
- Release date: November 20, 2012
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy violence
- Last updated: August 26, 2016
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