A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about teamwork while solving puzzles and conquering different enemies. Since each scenario can be approached in a variety of ways, kids can learn about trial and error, hypothesis testing, and innovation. Figuring out obelisk puzzles, terraforming challenges (one puzzle requires moving sand around to block a grid of lasers preventing the way forward), and the occasional riddle (which rewards players with collectibles), helps kids feel justifiably clever when mastering the world's intricacies. Combat also requires thinking and coming up with creative ways to move forward. Thanks to Son of Nor's story, kids will learn about good and evil, sacrifice, and the indomitable human spirit.
Many quests involve helping others, but "kill everything" philosophy still dominates. Almost all gameplay requires being creative and problem solving, even in combat.
Positive Role Models
Being a Son of Nor demands prudence, action, but apart from brief bio, hero lacks depth, says very little.
Ease of Play
Controls take getting used to. Finicky camera, loose targeting.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of fantasy violence, but no conventional weapons. Enemies can be impaled by own weapons, set on fire. There's no blood; enemies turn to stone when they die.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Son of Nor is a downloadable third-person fantasy action-adventure game that requires a lot of invention and creativity, both in solving environmental puzzles as well as in combat. It's set in a desert world, and all the enemies that players fight are animal-inspired, such as spiders and scarabs, but most enemies are lizard people that walk upright and talk, like humans. The player never wields a weapon, only magic powers, telekinesis, and the ability to terraform the land (sand) all around. It's possible to impale enemies with sharp objects (such as their own swords, taken from them via telekinesis) or set them on fire. But there's no blood, and enemies turn to stone when dead.
Is It Any Good?
Son of Nor is frustratingly just short of good. Innovation, creativity, and problem solving are important to helping you complete the game, as is having fun in an "I'm an all-powerful being!" kind of way. Unfortunately, most enemy encounters become bogged down by repetition, similar tactics (once initially solved), a shaky frame rate, and the occasional bug or two (not the scarab kind). The graphics fail to impress or inspire, with very limited NPC character model movement and variation and with very little deviation from the desert-world color palette (except for some of the temples, which get quite Tron-like by the end, lasers and neon included). The camera needs to be constantly managed, as aiming and targeting are both imprecise and buggy.
But the good is refreshingly good. Players primarily interact with the world and its enemies through telekinesis. Almost anything in the environment can be taken, lifted in the air, and thrown at a target, whether that's a foe or puzzle component. The puzzles require much heavy lifting, as players will have to maneuver stones, pillars, and other objects to solve a plethora of object- and environment-based puzzles. Additionally, elemental abilities (fire, wind, essence) are acquired and kept in a Spellbook that's easy to utilize (although it doesn't pause the game, so it can be a problem mid-combat). These spells can be further combined to create "fused" attacks. The best way to play Son of Nor is cooperatively, as the game's sandbox-like toolset opens up a wide variety of ways in which to approach combat. Teamwork and coming up with combinations of diverse moves to tackle tricky set pieces and bosses make cooperative play a blast. While the puzzle solving and co-op play are fun, the bugs and repetitive combat make Son of Nor an average adventure for fantasy fans.
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.