A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The game shows kids the importance of time management, problem-solving, social interactions, and more. Farming elements help to teach some basic agricultural interests, as well as related cooking and crafting skills.
Features some basic "good versus evil" tropes, with players fending off various monsters. Strong sense of community, with players working to help others, create ties, improve their town, provide goods and services to others.
Positive Role Models
Players' characters tend to be positive role models, with strong sense of heroism, selflessness. The rest of the community tends to be helpful, friendly, generally appreciative, though there are some non-player characters (NPCs) that have a little more of a snarky attitude.
Ease of Play
From a control standpoint, the game is straightforward and responsive. But issues stem from the fact that there's simply so much to do. Between managing your farm, exploring dungeons, solving requests for townsfolk, crafting and selling items, there's a lot of multitasking to try to keep up with.
Violence & Scariness
Classic dungeon crawling action is half of the gameplay. Players use a variety of medieval weapons (swords, axes, etc.) alongside magical spells and abilities to fight monsters and fantasy creatures. No blood shown on-screen; defeated enemies simply disappear from screen, leaving loot behind.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
No explicit content, but a few lines of dialogue are sexually suggestive in nature.
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Some mild profanity, including "dumbass" and "bastard," appear in the dialogue.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Players can craft a variety of items from their farms' harvests, including wine and liquor, which can be bought, sold, and consumed by the player.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rune Factory 4 Special is a fantasy role-playing/simulation game available exclusively on the Nintendo Switch. The game is a remastered remake of the original 3DS Rune Factory 4, as well as a spin-off of the popular Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons series. Players split their time between running a farm, building up relationships within their community, exploring dungeons, and fighting monsters. While combat is a part of the game, there's no blood or graphic violence. Some characters occasionally make mildly suggestive comments and use mild profanity over the course of their dialogue. Parents should also note that characters can craft, sell, and consume alcohol.
Is It Any Good?
When Rune Factory 4 was originally released in 2013, it quickly became a favorite for fans of both the Rune Factory and the Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons franchises. Rune Factory 4 Special gives fans a chance to revisit the adventure on the Nintendo Switch, while also introducing the series' unique blend of life simulation and fantasy adventuring to a whole new audience. And even though the game can get a bit overwhelming at some points and repetitive at others, it still manages to feel both rewarding and relaxing.
The basic gameplay in Rune Factory 4 Special is relatively easy to learn. There are a few menus to navigate, but generally everything is laid out in a straightforward manner. Most of the game's difficulty comes in trying to multitask, managing the various side quests and villager requests while simultaneously tending to your farm and harvesting resources. But once you put in some time and find your groove, the game gets ridiculously hard to walk away from. After investing so much effort into building up your place within the community and the relationships that develop, you can't help but want to keep going. And while the stress of daily life in Selphia ebbs and flows much like it does in the real world, there's rarely a time you can't wait to see what adventures the next day has to offer.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.