A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The story puts the main character in a bind between one faction out to "destroy the world" in order to save it and another that is an oppressive race of beast-men. The ultimate aim is positive, but the means - as in many games - involves violence. Ultimately, there's too much destruction and pain in this game to carry a positive message, no matter the ultimate goal.
Positive Role Models
For players of target age and older, the moral complexities will be comprehensible. But younger gamers will have trouble understanding the main character's alliance with an organization called the "World Annihilation Front" who rely on destruction to serve their mission.
Ease of Play
For players familiar with role playing games, this should be no problem. For novices to the genre, players can expect a few hours to understand the complexities of the battle system.
Violence & Scariness
In battles, characters hit, shoot, and whip one another and the damage is represented by flashes of light. At one point a bad guy declares, "I'll show you pain you never knew possible." Further, cutscenes depict characters being tortured.
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The words "hell" and "damn" are heard in several places.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sands of Destruction is a Japanese role-playing adventure game full of fantasy violence in which players battle creatures, humans, and other races of beings. The main character, a human, joins forces with an anarchist group out to destroy the planet and eliminate a race of oppressive beast-like humanoids, the Ferals. Though no bloodshed is depicted in the 2D action, characters deliever lines such as, "I'll show you pain you never knew possible," and attack each other with swords, knives, chains, and guns. Some of the cutscenes depict torture, and characters also use moderately strong language such as "damn" and "hell."
Is It Any Good?
For fans of Japanese RPG games, this is a solid entry. Sands of Destruction offers standard, turn-based battling, a linear, well-told story, and lots of data and attributes around each character that can be endlessly tweaked. The story and somewhat fiddly style of play go hand-in-hand, so players need to have an appetite - and patience - for both. For newcomers to the genre, the experience can be at first daunting and then immersive, as narrative, character, and music are all really well presented. Overall, this is a solid if not especially original game.
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.