Common Sense Media says

Movie-based game fun, even with gross jokes, name calling.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The kids are good, but potty humor and childish insults abound. The game’s narrator/instructor frequently calls the player names including butt-face and dork, and enemies like the green, squishy booger monsters are kind of gross.

Positive role models

Aside from some name-calling, the player characters are good-hearted kids intent on doing the right thing, whether that’s clearing a house full of booger monsters or taking on a power-mad CEO.

Ease of play

In-game instructions direct players in everything they must do.


The player goes up against crocodiles that lob bombs, snot spewing booger monsters, and poisonous snakes. They can attack and defend themselves by jumping on enemies, shooting them with shrink rays, and using telekinesis. There is no blood or screaming or human death.


Not an issue.


Some mild schoolyard insults, including dummy, butt-face, and dork.


It’s a tie-in product for the recently released children’s movie of the same name.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Not an issue.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a tie-in with the movie Shorts. It panders to a child’s sense of humor, delivering the sort of gross jokes (booger monsters) and schoolyard name-calling ("butt-face," "dork") that often amuses kids but can frustrate parents working to curb such influences. The violence, which includes cartoonish bombs, poisonous snakes, shrink rays, and telekinesis, is fairly mild, but still better suited for consumption by older children.

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What's it about?

SHORTS, the handheld game based on Robert Rodriguez’s kids movie, is a simple platformer that captures the film’s style and humour -- which is to say it features plenty of immature humor (like snot monsters) and a bit of mild schoolyard name calling (dummy, dork). Players switch between a quartet of characters from the film as they run around themed environments based on locations that appeared in the movie, including a house, a fortress, and a factory. Players have a variety of ways to deal with the game’s obstacles, including a gun that can shrink enemies, a hover jump, a telekinesis attack, and the ability to use the DS stylus to draw platforms between ledges and to higher levels. New game elements are explained in simple terms whenever they are encountered, making it easy for kids to pick up and play regardless of gaming experience.

Is it any good?


Shorts seems to be slipping through the cracks. It was available at only a smattering of major retailers at the time of this writing, and that’s a bit of a shame since it offers up platforming action that’s a bit more compelling than standard game-based-on-a-movie fare. It should be just challenging enough for the ten-and-up audience for which it is geared, and it provides ample opportunity for them to use their brains to figure out how to take on enemies with varying abilities and work out how to move from one platform to the next by, say, growing plant stalks, performing hover jumps, or drawing platforms. The only serious downside is its length. With 26 levels to explore -- each of which takes less than ten minutes on average -- your kids could potentially blow through the game in a single liesurely evening. What’s more, replay value is low, as it plays more or less the same the second time through. Still, at $20, it’s pretty affordable.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about schoolyard humor. Why do some kids like to call other children imaginative but often cruel names? What makes it funny to them? Have you ever been called a name? How did it make you feel? Did you laugh when the game’s narrator called you a dummy for not knowing how to do something for which he had yet to provide instructions?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
Available online?Not available online
Release date:August 18, 2009
ESRB rating:E10+ for Crude Humor, Mild Cartoon Violence (Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi)

This review of Shorts was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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